COVID-19 Vaccines for Children

COVID-19 vaccines are available as a primary series for all children aged six months and older.

It is recommended for infants and children (aged 6 months to under 5 years) to receive the same vaccine for all doses in a primary series.

All children aged five years and older can receive a booster dose at a recommended interval of six months after the completion of the primary series.

Individuals at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness can receive a booster dose after the minimum three-month interval, with informed consent.

Children and youth who are not up to date on other vaccines can still receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Please consult with your health care provider to get up to date on all vaccines.

Individuals under 12 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian when attending a COVID-19 vaccination clinic.

Visit our Get a Vaccine webpage to learn more about COVID-19 vaccine eligibilities, and where and how to get a vaccine for your family.

Vaccine Information for Parents/Guardians of Children (6 months - 11 years old)

COVID-19 vaccines authorized by Health Canada are safe, reliable, and can help protect you, your family, and our community from COVID-19. Visit the Health Canada – Vaccines for Children and the Ministry of Health – COVID-19 Vaccines webpages to learn more.

Although children and youth are more likely to experience mild or no symptoms from COVID-19, they can still get sick from COVID-19, spread COVID-19 to others, and experience longer-term effects if they do get infected. COVID-19 vaccines continue to offer good protection from the most severe outcomes of COVID-19.

Frequently asked questions

Can my child get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Children who are six months or older are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. 

  • If an individual who is eligible does not have a health card, they can still get a vaccine. Visit COVID-19 Vaccines for more information.
  • If an individual who is eligible has already had COVID-19, they should still get the vaccine. Natural immunity from a COVID-19 illness may not last long, and there is a risk of new infection with the variants that are circulating in the community.
  • Children aged six months and older can receive a COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as, or at any time before or after, non-COVID-19 vaccines (e.g. flu vaccine) with informed consent. Parents and caregivers should discuss vaccination with their health care provider to determine the best timing for COVID 19 vaccination.

Please visit our Get a Vaccine webpage to learn more about vaccine eligibility, where, and how to get a vaccine for your family. Talk to your health care provider if you have questions or concerns about your child receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

How can my child have a positive vaccination experience?

Knowing what to expect can help make vaccination a positive experience for your family.

Before vaccination

  • Watch our video: How to prepare your child for a vaccine
  • Talk to your child ahead of time. You can describe how the vaccine will feel:
    • “There may be a pinch or something pushing for a few seconds.”
  • Be honest with your child and use neutral language. Avoid misleading information like “it won’t hurt.”
  • If your child is afraid of needles, talk to your health care provider. They might suggest treatment.
  • You can complete the All About Me Booklet with your child that you can share with their immunizer.
  • You can apply numbing creams or patches (available at pharmacies without a prescription) to reduce pain. Be sure to carefully follow the package instructions about when and how to apply the product. For specific information on where to apply numbing creams or patches, ask your health care provider.

At the vaccination appointment

  • You will be able to stay with your child while they receive the vaccine. You should stay calm and use a normal speaking voice before, during and after the needle.
  • Avoid using statements that bring attention to the procedure (e.g. “It’ll be over soon”, “This is going to hurt”)
  • Start distracting your child before the needle and keep your child’s attention on the distraction. For example, use videos, toys, music, talking.
Does my child require my consent before receiving the vaccine?

Immunization is a treatment for the prevention of disease and therefore needs consent. 

There is no minimum age for giving consent under the Health Care Consent Act, 1996 of Ontario. If the individual is capable to provide informed consent, parental consent is not needed. Informed consent means that you understand what the vaccine involves, why it is recommended, and the risks and benefits of getting or not getting it.

If an individual is unable to provide informed consent to receive the vaccine (for example, for medical reasons), they will need consent from someone who can make a decision on their behalf, such as a parent or legal guardian.

If an individual is under 12 years of age, they must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

As a parent or guardian, discuss immunization with your child. Your child needs to know about:

  • Your views on health and immunization
  • When and why they are getting a vaccine

The vaccine administrator needs to know your child's:

  • Previous reactions to vaccines they may have had
  • Health concerns, including medications they are taking and allergies to antibiotics or components of the vaccine

How long should my child wait between having COVID-19 and receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?

  • For children 6 months to 5 years of age who are getting their primary series NACI suggests an 8-week interval after symptom onset or positive test if asymptomatic
  • For children considered moderately to severely immunocompromised who are getting their primary series NACI suggests 4 to 8 weeks after symptom onset or positive test if asymptomatic
  • Children aged 5 years and older can receive a booster dose at a recommended interval of six months after their last dose of the primary series, or after symptom onset or positive test if asymptomatic. 

For more information on intervals between infection and immunization, please visit COVID-19 Vaccines and the NACI website.

My child received Moderna for the first dose and is now 5 years old. Should the second dose be Pfizer or Moderna?

The same mRNA COVID-19 vaccine product should be offered for the subsequent dose in a primary series started with a specific mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. Children who have received a Moderna dose and turn five years old prior to completing their primary series are recommended to receive Moderna to complete their primary series.

With informed consent from parents or caregivers, children who turn five prior to completing their primary series can receive the Pfizer vaccine.

What if my child requires special accommodations during the COVID-19 Vaccination?

If your child 6 months to 17 years of age has severe needle anxiety, sensory needs, general anxiety, behavioural and/or other special needs, Region of Waterloo Public Health has partnered with KidsAbility to deliver a vaccination clinic that can provide your child with additional supports and special accommodations with a location in Waterloo.

This includes providing larger private immunization spaces in a sensory-friendly clinic with reduced noise, and reduced bright lights, as well as, longer appointment times.

Please use our KidsAbility Request Form to request an appointment at our Special Accommodation and Sensory-Safe Clinic.

Clinic dates (by appointment only):

  • Saturday, February 4 from 9:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Address: 500 Hallmark Drive, Waterloo, ON N2K 3P5

Please note: Those who complete the KidsAbility Request Form after available clinic dates have been fully booked, will be placed on a waiting list and contacted by Public Health when availability has opened.

If you need additional support scheduling an appointment you can contact Public health via email at PHECOVIDIMMS@regionofwaterloo.ca.

Resources

Documents and websites 
Videos 
Translated materials 
Visit our COVID-19 Vaccine Resources to view translated print and video resources. 

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