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This page includes information and resources about COVID-19 vaccination for children under 12 years.

Updates

  • Get boosted this winter! Residents can now walk-in or book an appointment at one of Halton Region’s paediatric clinics (ages 6 months to 11 years), community clinics (ages 12+) or community clinics (all ages 6 months+) to get the bivalent COVID-19 booster dose. Appointments are added regularly to our booking system and are available until February 25, 2023.
    • Boosters are recommended for people aged 5 years and older, 6 months (minimum of 3 months) after completing a primary series or a COVID-19 infection

Make the right decision for your family – get your information from reliable sources

It’s okay to have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine for your child. Please make sure you are getting information and answers to your questions from your health care provider, paediatrician or other reliable and scientific sources:

Vaccines available for children

Following rigorous scientific reviews, Health Canada has approved two mRNA COVID-19 vaccines for children:

*Paediatric Pfizer is preferred for those 5-11 years of age.

Vaccine dose recommendations

Primary series

  • Children six months to 11 years of age should get two doses of the paediatric COVID-19 vaccine 8 weeks apart.
    • NOTE: Paediatric Pfizer for children 6 months to under 5 years of age requires three doses, with each dose given 8 weeks apart.
  • Children who are moderately to severely immunocompromised (external link) should get a third dose 8 weeks after the second dose to complete their primary series.

Booster doses

  • Children 5-11 years of age can get a bivalent booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine at a recommended interval of 6 months, or a minimum of 3 months since their last dose or COVID-19 infection.
  • The protection from vaccines may decrease over time. Evidence suggests booster dose(s) restore protection against the virus.

For the best protection against COVID-19 and its variants, make sure your children stay up-to-date on all recommended doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Use our online Dose Calculator to find out when your child can get their next dose.

Children 6 months and older can get their COVID-19 vaccine at the same time, or any time before or after other vaccines.

  Why it’s important for children to get vaccinated

  • Although COVID-19 symptoms in children can be mild, some develop more severe symptoms or require hospitalization, even without underlying health conditions.
  • Children can continue to have symptoms long after a COVID-19 infection has cleared.
  • Some children can develop other complications from COVID-19 beyond the infection itself, including a rare but serious condition called multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C).
  • COVID-19 infection can impact daily routines and can have an impact on children’s mental, social and emotional health.
  • Children 5-11 can receive a booster dose to restore protection against severe illness from a COVID-19 infection.
  • Children who have underlying medical conditions are strongly recommended to stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations and get a booster dose after completion of a primary series.

Where to get vaccinated

Children six months to 11 years of age (must be six months of age or older on the day of vaccination) have several options to get their COVID-19 vaccine:

 

Need extra supports at our clinics? Call 311 or click here for information on transportation options, accessibility, private areas and language supports available.

 

Book an appointment at a Halton Region Paediatric Clinic

  Book an appointment

  Manage your appointment

Viewing, rescheduling or cancelling an appointment

  • You will need your booking confirmation number or date of birth, last name and postal code.
 

Keeping Halton Region Healthy Videos

Keeping Halton Region Health - COVID-19 vaccines for children 6 months - 5 years of age (YouTube video link)

Watch as local healthcare experts answer some common questions about paediatric COVID-19 vaccines for children 6 months to 5 years of age to help parents make an informed decision about vaccination.

Keeping Halton Region Healthy - COVID-19 vaccines for children age 5 – 11 (YouTube video link)

Over the past several months we have received questions from Halton residents about the COVID-19 vaccine, specifically the paediatric vaccine for children aged 5 to 11. Watch as local healthcare experts answer some of these questions and provide additional information to help parents make an informed decision about vaccination.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Don’t see your answer below? Check out these other FAQs:

Find reliable resources to help answer your questions. Visit COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions for general COVID-19 vaccine questions.

All COVID-19 vaccines authorized in Canada are proven to be safe, effective and of high quality.

The vaccines were tested in clinical trials for children. The clinical trials found the vaccine was safe for children, just as we know it is safe in adults and adolescents. The risk of serious side effects from the vaccines is very low. Children who have underlying medical conditions are strongly encouraged to get both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

There are rare cases when the vaccine should not be given to children including children who:

Some children experience mild side effects such as red arm, tiredness, chills and muscle/joint pain. These side effects go away after a few days, and are similar to other routine childhood vaccinations. In children six months to two years of age, the most common side effects reported were irritability/crying, pain, sleepiness and loss of appetite. Serious side effects such as anaphylaxis or severe allergy are rare. Long term side effects are not expected from COVID-19 mRNA vaccines. mRNA vaccines have been studied in humans since 2013 with no known long-term effects.

No. Both the Pfizer and Moderna paediatric vaccines for children use a lower dose. Smaller vaccine doses are often used for children because children have stronger immune responses than adults.

For individuals six months of age and older, COVID-19 vaccines can be given at the same time or any time before or after another vaccine (for example, the annual flu vaccine, or other regularly scheduled vaccines).

Rare cases of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the lining of the heart muscle) have been reported following vaccination with mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. It is unknown whether myocarditis/pericarditis will occur after the lower doses of mRNA present within paediatric COVID-19 vaccines for children. Safety surveillance data (external link) suggests that the risk of myocarditis or pericarditis may be lower in children aged 5 to 11 compared to adolescents and young adults. Among children 5 to 11 years of age following vaccination with Pfizer-BioNTech, very rare cases were reported. Myocarditis is expected to be very rare in young children.

Children who experience myocarditis and/or pericarditis after a first dose of the vaccine should speak with their health care provider to determine if they should get additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine. Children who have a history of myocarditis unrelated to COVID-19 vaccination should consult their clinical care team for individual considerations and recommendations. If they are no longer under active care for myocarditis, they may receive the vaccine.

Children are recommended to get their second COVID-19 vaccine dose eight weeks after their first dose.

Shorter, minimum dose intervals can be received with informed consent. However, emerging evidence demonstrates that longer intervals between the first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccines result in better immune response and higher vaccine effectiveness. See the Canadian Immunization Guide for more information (external link).

Halton community clinics will not give a COVID-19 vaccine at a shorter interval than 8 weeks.

Pharmacists, physicians and Nurse Practitioners providing vaccine in the community, may choose to offer second doses earlier based on individual patient consultation and with informed consent.


 

How to prepare for your child’s vaccination

Prepare yourself

  • Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine from credible information sources. See “additional resources” section below for some credible sources.
  • It is helpful to keep calm and positive. Children are very aware of your emotions.

Prepare your child

  • Like any vaccine, children may be nervous or anxious about the thought of COVID-19 vaccination. The COVID-19 vaccine is like any other vaccine and doesn’t hurt any more or less than other needles.
  • Talk to your child about the vaccine in a calm tone of voice and use positive language.
    • Explain to them what will happen: “The vaccine goes in your arm.”
    • Why the COVID-19 vaccine is important: “The vaccine will help keep you healthy.”
    • How it will feel: “You may feel a poke or a pinch.”
    • How long it will take: “It’s over before you can say ABC, 123”
  • Invite them to ask questions and address their concerns.
  • Help your child think of ways to keep themselves calm and relaxed. You can do this by teaching them how to:
    • Take deep breaths: Practice deep breathing with your child. Together, take a deep breath in and blow it out slowly. Have them pretend they are blowing out a candle.
    • Relax their arm: Show them how to relax their arm by keeping it loose and jiggly (like cooked spaghetti).
  • Have your child decide on a way to distract them from the needle. Some examples are:
    • Select a favourite toy or book that that they can bring to the vaccination clinic.
    • Shift attention – help them to think about a favorite positive experience during their vaccination.
    • Use technology – a phone or tablet to play a game, listen to music or read.
  • Children 2 years of age and older are encouraged to wear a mask at all times when they attend a Halton Region vaccination clinic. Click here for more information on masks (external link).
  • Make sure your child eats a healthy snack or meal before attending the clinic.
  • Have them wear short sleeves or something easy to pull up so the vaccinator can easily reach their upper arm. Infants and young children may get the vaccine in their thigh, so consider clothing that can easily be removed.
  • Consider using a numbing cream or patch to dull the pain where the needle enters the skin. This should be applied approximately 30 minutes prior to injection. Carefully follow the directions to make sure you place the cream or patch in the correct spot. Contact your family doctor or pharmacist for more information.
  • Remind your child about the tips for staying calm that you have practiced.
  • Bring your child’s Ontario Health Card. Children will not be turned away if they are not able to provide a Health Card.
  • Complete the COVID-19 screening for everyone who will be attending the clinic BEFORE you leave home if possible.
  • Have your child sit up during the needle. For younger children, hold them in a comforting hug. Learn more about how to hold your child to improve the vaccination experience. (PDF file)
  • Take deep breaths together and stay calm.
  • Remind them to relax their arm.
  • Encourage your child to use the distraction technique that they decided on.
  • Have them spot the Halton Heroes!
  • Tell them they can squeeze their knees together if they feel faint or dizzy.
  • Older children should sit up while getting their vaccine.
  • Younger children may feel more comfortable when sitting on or close to a parent or caregiver. Try one of these comfort holds:

Comfort holds

Cradle

Gently cradle your baby, securing their arms and legs with your arms. This can be done while breastfeeding.

Side-to-chest

Have your child sit on your lap in a sideways position.

Chest-to-chest

Have your child sit on your lap with their chest against your chest and their legs to either side.

Back-to-chest

Have your child sit on your lap with their back against your chest.

  • Offer praise. Positive reinforcement works for kids of all ages. This helps your child feel good and boosts their confidence
  • Go to the recovery area and look for the Halton Heroes. Pick-up one of our Halton Hero mazes or colouring sheets, or just talk to your child about how proud you are of them.
  • Celebrate by enjoying a favourite activity together.
  • Refer to Get your COVID-19 vaccine (PDF file) for more information on common side effects.
  • If you notice a change in your child’s health that worries you, contact your health care provider.
  • It is recommended that children six months to five years of age wait at least 14 days before and after they receive the COVID-19 vaccine and another vaccine.

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