COVID-19 Vaccines for Children

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

The first of two doses of the Moderna vaccine for COVID-19 is now available for children 6 months of age and older at Regional vaccination clinics and participating pharmacies. To book an appointment, check our Get a Vaccine page.

Vaccines are an important tool to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and allow families to safely resume normal activities.

Although children and youth are less likely to get very sick from COVID-19 they can still:

  • Get sick from COVID-19
  • Be infected and not have any symptoms
  • Spread COVID-19 to others
  • Experience longer-term effects if they do get infected

COVID-19 vaccines authorized by Health Canada are safe, reliable, and can help protect you, your family, and our community from COVID-19. Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines

Can my child get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Children who are six months or older are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. Find information about how to get a vaccine.
  • If an individual who is eligible does not have a health card, they can still get a vaccine.
  • 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.
  • At this time, NACI recommends that children receive a COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days before or after another vaccine. This is a precaution to help to determine if a side effect that may arise is due to the COVID-19 vaccine or another vaccine. There may be circumstances when a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and another vaccine need to be given at the same time – a healthcare provider can help with this decision.
  • COVID-19 vaccines for children may be co-administered with, or at any time before or after, non-COVID-19 vaccines (e.g. flu vaccine) with informed consent.

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.
  • Learn about the CARD (Comfort, Ask, Relax, Distract) system that provides groups of strategies that can be used before and during vaccination.
  • 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.

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 previously infected with SARS-CoV-2, NACI suggests an 8-week interval between infection and initiation or completion of a COVID-19 primary series (i.e., 8 weeks after symptom onset or positive test if asymptomatic). This interval may be shortened for children considered moderately to severely immunocompromised (i.e, 4 to 8 weeks after symptom onset or positive test if asymptomatic).

Sensory Safe Accommodations

If your child between the ages of 5-17 requires special accommodations during their COVID-19 vaccination, please connect with your family doctor or pharmacy for more information.

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