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

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

Superhero Chameleon
  • On November 19, 2021, Health Canada approved the Pediatric Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.
  • On May 5, 2021, Health Canada approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children and youth ages 12 to 15.
  • Children 5 to 11 are not able receive the COVID-19 vaccine within 14 days of other vaccines, such as the flu vaccine. Parents and guardians with questions about the vaccine are strongly encouraged to contact their healthcare provider to discuss their child’s vaccination.

Why should children get vaccinated?
Let’s hear from the experts.

Locally, children and youth 5 to 19 years of age are among the top age groups for most cases of COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex County, which has led to many school dismissals.

Photo of a young girl receiving a vaccination

Having children vaccinated will better enable students to remain in school for in-person learning, and further limit the opportunity for this virus to spread. Overall, when there is a high vaccination rate in school-aged children and their households, there are fewer outbreaks and closure orders, and fewer disruptions to education, recreation, and time with friends.

Receiving the vaccine will help to prevent infection, hospitalization, and rare but severe complications in children, such as multisystem inflammatory syndrome, or MIS-C. This is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs.

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.

It is required that a parent or guardian attend the vaccination appointment with their child 5 to 11 years of age.


Is the COVID-19 Vaccine Safe & Effective?

After rigorous testing in children ages 5 to 11 and a thorough review of the data, Health Canada has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine as safe and effective for this age group.

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

COVID-19 and kids: How mRNA vaccines work

Watch this video from the American Academy of Pediatrics about how the mRNA vaccines work.

A French video about mRNA vaccines is also available.

Sesame Street: The ABCs of COVID Vaccines

Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Erica Hill, along with Big Bird and friends, helps answer questions from kids and families about the COVID-19 vaccine.


Get Facts Not COVID-19:

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 Help from Max the Vax!

Max the Vax is here to help young people feel safe and protected from COVID-19, and has many resources and of information to share. 

Max the Vax

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.


Preparing Your Child for Vaccination

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.

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!

The CARD System – Youth Vaccine Student Resource

The CARD System - Affiche du système CARD

The CARD System Poster - Activité avec le système CARD

SickKids: The Ask CARD – The CARD system for a better vaccination experience

Getting Your Child Vaccinated

Windsor Regional Hospital, City of Windsor, and Windsor-Essex County Health Unit are proud to release this new locally produced video to help put parents and kids at ease ahead of coming to our Devonshire Mall vaccination centre.

CHEO Vaccine Tips:For Kids BY Kids

Learn about how to prepare for the COVID-19 vaccine, from kids. Go through what to expect on vaccination day and some tips for relaxing.

This video is available in French.

Why should youth get vaccinated?

Having youth vaccinated will better enable students to remain in school for in-person learning, and further limit the opportunity for this virus to spread. Overall, when there is a high vaccination rate in school-aged individuals and their households, there are fewer outbreaks and closure orders, and fewer disruptions to education, recreation, and time with friends.

Even if you are young and in good health, the COVID-19 virus could still have life-threatening complications or long-term side effects. 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 reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Windsor and Essex County and help our community get back to life before the pandemic.

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

Is the COVID-19 Vaccine Safe & Effective?

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 to 17. The effectiveness of the vaccine 14 days after the second dose is estimated to be over 90% for Pfizer-BioNTech.

Get Facts NOT COVID-19:

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:

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 (age 12+) 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).


Additional Resources

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Last modified: 
Friday, December 17, 2021 - 8:58am