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Children and youth (5-17 years of age) are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Getting vaccinated is still one of the most important steps we can take to protect ourselves and those around us from COVID-19.

Learn where children and youth can get their first or second dose at and What to Expect on Vaccination Day

Is the COVID-19 Vaccine Safe & Effective
for Children & Youth?

The COVID-19 vaccine was rigorously tested in children and the findings indicate that it is safe and effective in people aged 5 to 11.

Health Canada authorized the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children 5 to 11 years of age.  

Data from Pfizer’s clinical trials suggest that their vaccine was 90.7% effective at preventing COVID-19 infections in children aged 5 to 11 years, and caused no serious side effects.

Children are not able receive the COVID-19 vaccine within 14 days of other vaccines, such as the flu vaccine. Parents with questions about the vaccine are strongly encouraged to contact their healthcare provider to discuss their child’s vaccination.

Max the Vax

It is required that a parent or guardian attend the vaccination appointment with their child.

Despite what you may have read online, the myths about COVID-19 vaccines are not true.

VaxFacts with Scarborough Health provides a list of helpful resources to debunk myths and answer frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine:

Get Facts Not COVID-19:
COVID-19 Vaccines & Children Aged 5 to 11 Years

Even though most children who get infected with the COVID-19 virus only have mild symptoms, receiving the vaccine will help to prevent infection, hospitalization, and rare but severe complications. Disruptions to schooling, recreational, and social activities will also be minimized.

Every child has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Children have enjoyed less time with extended family, have had to participate in online learning, and have missed out on community events and services as a result of this global pandemic. Vaccinations improve the overall immunity of the whole populations and will help your family and community go back to doing the things we enjoy.

Unvaccinated children with COVID-19 can develop a serious complication called multisystem inflammatory syndrome, or MIS-C. MIS-C is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. Symptoms include ongoing fever PLUS one or more of the following:

  • Stomach pain
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness (signs of low blood pressure)
  • Skin rash
  • Vomiting

Although most children who get COVID-19 experience mild symptoms, as many as one in seven affected children will go on to have long-term complications from COVID-19. Sometimes also called Long-haul or Long COVID, researchers found these children continue to experience symptoms linked to the virus fifteen weeks later. The most common Long COVID symptoms include sore throat, headache, tiredness, and loss of smell.

Dosage: A dose of the paediatric Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for young children, between ages 5 and 11, contains one third (10 micrograms) of the amount of active ingredient compared to the adult dose (30 micrograms). COVID-19 vaccine dosages do not vary by patient weight but by age on the day of vaccination. In clinical trials, lower doses provided children with very good protection against COVID-19.

Interval: Children aged 5 to 11 years getting the vaccine should receive 2 doses. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends that the second dose should be given at least 8 weeks after the first dose.

Syringe: Smaller needles are also used when giving the COVID-19 vaccine to young children ages 5 to 11.

The benefits of limiting the number of cases of COVID-19 far outweigh any potential risks associated with vaccination. In fact, serious side effects after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, such as allergic reactions, are extremely rare. 

Similar to when children receive other vaccines, some children may develop short-term and mild side effects after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Experiencing mild side effects, such as pain where the needle was given, tiredness, chills, headache, and muscle pain can be expected and indicates that the vaccine is working to produce protection or immunity. Swollen lymph nodes were also observed in a few children during the clinical trails. These side effects should go away in a few days.

The Ministry of Health's COVID-19 Vaccine Information Sheet: For Children (age 5-11) describes possible side effects and next steps if your children is experiencing side effects that are worrying you.

The COVID-19 vaccine was rigorously tested in youth confirming that it is safe and effective in people aged 12 to 17.

The benefits of limiting the number of cases of COVID-19 far outweigh any potential risks associated with vaccination. In fact, serious side effects after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, such as allergic reactions, are extremely rare.

Currently, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the recommended COVID-19 vaccine for youth 12 (or turning 12 in 2021) to 17. The effectiveness of the vaccine 14 days after the second dose is estimated to be over 90% for Pfizer-BioNTech.

It is recommended that a parent or guardian attend the vaccination appointment with anyone under 16 years of age.

Despite what you may have read online, the myths about COVID-19 vaccines are not true.

VaxFacts with Scarborough Health provides a list of helpful resources to debunk myths and answer frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine:

Get the Facts:
COVID-19 Vaccines & Youth Aged 12 (or turning 12 in 2021) to 17 Years

Even if you are in good health, or are young, the COVID-19 virus could still have life-threatening complications or long-term side effects. Children can also get a serious medical condition from the virus called “Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome”. There is no way to tell how the COVID-19 infection may affect you. People who are fully vaccinated are more likely to have mild symptoms or none at all.

The vaccination is a safe and effective way to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in Windsor and Essex County and help our community get back to life before the pandemic.

The COVID-19 vaccine helps build up immunity to the virus, so that your body will fight it off more easily. This can reduce the risk of getting sick from COVID-19 or make symptoms milder if you do get it.

It’s important that you get both doses of the vaccine for long-term protection against COVID-19.

The Pfizer-BioNTech clinical trial studied 2,260 youth aged 12 to 15 years old in the United States. In the trial, there were 18 cases of COVID-19 in the group that did not get the vaccine (the “placebo” group) compared to zero cases in the vaccinated group. Based on these results, the vaccine was calculated to be 100% effective in the trial.

COVID-19 vaccines are only provided if informed consent is received from the person to be vaccinated. This applies to those aged 12 to 17, and as long as you have the capacity to make this decision. This means that you understand:

  • what vaccination involves,
  • why it is being recommended; and
  • the risks and benefits of accepting or refusing to be vaccinated.

Even if you are able to provide informed consent, it would be a good idea to talk about this decision with your parent/guardian or an adult you trust such as your principal or a teacher. If you are not able to consent to receiving the vaccine, you require consent from your substitute decision-maker, such as your parent or legal guardian.

COVID-19 vaccines, like all vaccines, may cause side effects, though not everyone experiences them. Most who experience side effects report mild side effects within the first 1-2 days after vaccination. The most commonly reported side effects after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine include pain, swelling at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, joint pain, chills, and mild fever.

The Ministry of Health's COVID-19 Vaccine Information Sheet: For Youth (age 12-17) describes possible side effects and next steps if you are experiencing side effects that are worrying you. This information sheet also describes the rare risk of myocarditis/pericarditis following COVID-19 mRNA vaccines, which have occurred more frequently in adolescents and young adults.

The COVID-19 Vaccine for Youth
Video Presentation

Check out this video if you have questions about the vaccine for youth.

We answer common questions and walk you through booking an appointment.

Virtual Conversation for Parents with Dr. Ahmed

Check out this video if you missed the virtual conversation for parents with the WECHU's former Medical Officer of Health Dr. Wajid Ahmed.

Dr. Ahmed answers questions that were submitted by Windsor-Essex parents about COVID-19 vaccines and youth vaccination.

Talking it Out

It is OK to feel a bit worried before making the decision to vaccinate your child or youth before they receive their vaccine.

It is always encouraged to talk to someone you trust, like your healthcare provider. Youth and children are encouraged to talk to a parent or guardian, or an adult they trust before receiving the vaccine. Parents, guardians, and caregivers may also speak with a trusted healthcare provider about the COVID-19 vaccines for children aged 5 to 11.

Not sure who to talk to?
There are free support lines available to help you.

SickKids Vaccine Support Line:

The service is available to children, youth, and their families across Ontario. The SickKids COVID-19 Vaccine Consult Service is a by-appointment phone service that provides a safe, judgement-free space to have an open conversation about the COVID-19 vaccine for children and youth.

Over the phone interpretation is available for free in many languages. Appointments can be made online or by calling 437-881-3505.

VaxFacts with Scarborough Health:

This service provides one-to-one consultation, judgement-free conversation, and facts to help you make an informed decision. Book an appointment online to connect with qualified doctors or register by phone by calling 416-438-2911 ext. 5738.

You do not need an OHIP card to participate. Offers 200 languages with interpretation services.

The Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre:

This service, provided by the Government of Ontario, gives you the opportunity to speak to an experienced agent or health specialist in more than 300 languages. Call 1-833-943-3900 (TTY: 1-866-797-0007).

Prepare and Support Your Child with Their COVID-19 Vaccine

Become familiar with latest information about the COVID-19 vaccine before having a conversation with your child. Have an open discussion, ask your child what they’ve heard about the vaccine and listen to their responses, and be honest when answering questions they may have. The following resources provide more tips about speaking with your child about the COVID-19 vaccine:

The fear of needles is very common in both adults and children. If your child’s fear is so great that it stops them from getting needles, then they may have a condition known as needle phobia. Help your child cope with getting a needle by staying calm, focusing on the positive, not focusing on the negative, making positive coping statements, and offering distractions.

Sometimes, the fear of needles is so great it may cause a person to feel faint. Ask your child to lie down for the vaccination, and to stay lying down for several minutes after the injection before slowly getting up.

See resources for needle and vaccination fear.


Many people have a fear of needles yet still successfully received the COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines. Below are some needle and vaccination fear resources to help you!

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Last modified: 
Friday, November 26, 2021 - 10:44am