Skip Navigation

COVID-19 Vaccines for Children

Breadcrumbs
 

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

Updates

First booster doses available for children 5-11 years of age at our Paediatric Clinics, by appointment only.

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.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends that children receive two doses of a paediatric COVID-19 vaccine 8 weeks apart (external PDF). NOTE: Paediatric Pfizer for children 6 months to under 5 years of age requires three doses, with each dose given 8 weeks apart.

NACI also recommends that children who are immunocompromised receive a third dose of paediatric COVID-19 vaccine 8 weeks after the second dose to complete their primary series.

Booster doses

  • The protection from vaccines may decrease over time. Evidence suggests booster dose(s) restore protection against the virus.
  • Following Provincial direction, parents and guardians (external link) can book an appointment for a first booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine for children 5-11 years of age.
    • It is recommended that 5-11 year olds get their first booster at least six months (or 168 days) after their second dose.
    • Children who are immunocompromised and received a three dose primary series are recommended to receive their first booster dose (fourth dose) six months (or 168 days) after their third dose.

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 is recommended to get their next dose.

  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 who have underlying medical conditions are strongly encouraged to get both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

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

  • Make sure your child is eligible for vaccination (external link) before you book an appointment. Eligibility for your child’s vaccination will be confirmed at the clinic appointment. Booking an appointment does not guarantee your child will receive a vaccination.
  • Select the blue Book an appointment button above.
  • Appointments are currently available until October 22, 2022. Appointments continue to be added to our system, so check back regularly.
  • To book an appointment online, you will need an e-mail address. If you do not have an email address, please call 311.
  • Each person needs their own appointment. Group bookings are not available (for example, siblings).
  • Remember: please bring your child’s OHIP card or form of identification to the appointment so you can easily get their vaccine certificate.

  Manage your appointment

Viewing, rescheduling or cancelling an appointment

  • Select the blue Manage your appointment button above to view, reschedule or cancel your appointment.
  • You will need your booking confirmation number or date of birth, last name and postal code.
  • Your cancelled appointment will be added back into the system for someone else to book.
 

Frequently Asked Questions

Visit COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions for general COVID-19 vaccine questions. Don’t see your answer here? Check out these other FAQs:

It’s okay to still have questions about the vaccine. The following resources are available to help answer them:

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

These 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.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization preferentially recommends Paediatric Pfizer for children 5-11 years of age (external link). This is because of higher reports of myocarditis/pericarditis following vaccination with Moderna compared to Pfizer. Most cases have occurred in young adults, most often in males.

There are rare cases when the vaccine should not be given to children. The COVID-19 vaccine should not be given to 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.

The National Advisory Council on Immunization recommends that children six months to five years of age receiving the paediatric Moderna vaccine wait at least 14 days before and after they receive the COVID-19 vaccine and another vaccine (external link).

For individuals five years 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.

TOP