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Children 5 to 11 years

Getting the vaccine 

Children 5 to 11 years of age are eligible to receive the children’s Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine which was approved by Health Canada. Two doses of the vaccine are recommended with at least eight weeks between the first and second dose. The child must be 5 years of age at time of vaccination. 

It is recommended that children between 5 and 11 years of age wait 14 days before or after the administration of another vaccine before getting their COVID-19 vaccine. Speak with your health care provider if you have questions.

Children will receive the dosage approved for their age the day they receive the vaccine. If they are 12 on the day they are vaccinated, they will receive the adolescent/adult (30mcg) dose. If they are still 11 on the day they are vaccinated they will receive the children’s (10mcg) dose. For some children this will mean that they may receive different dosages for their first and second vaccinations.

To book an appointment click here

For more information see  COVID-19 vaccines for children and youth 

Since September 2021, children in Simcoe Muskoka under the age of 12 have had the highest rate of new cases of any age group. Children are most frequently exposed to COVID-19 by a close contact, so it is very important that all eligible household members get fully vaccinated as soon as possible. Even if someone in your household had COVID-19 before, it is recommended that they get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Most children who have gotten COVID-19 have milder symptoms or no symptoms. Although rare,  some children can become very ill with COVID-19 requiring hospitalization; some also experience a rare condition associated with COVID-19 infection called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome. Similar to adults, children can also experience complications with ongoing symptoms (Post-acute COVID-19 or long-haul COVID-19) after recovering from the initial infection. It is estimated more than 50% of people (adults and children) who were previously infected with COVID-19 continue to experience ongoing symptoms. The most common symptoms in children are fatigue, headache, trouble concentrating, insomnia and cough.

Getting your child vaccinated is the best way to protect them from COVID-19 and to prevent them from passing the virus to grandparents or others who can get seriously ill. 

Still have questions about COVID-19 vaccines for children and youth?

It's preferred that children get their vaccine with a parent or legal guardian present at the clinic. If necessary, children can go with an alternative caregiver to get vaccinated.

Children 5-11 need to attend clinic with a parent/legal guardian and/or come with a consent form completed by the parent/legal guardian.


Tip's to improve your child's vaccine experience 

Making a child’s vaccination experience better and decreasing the amount of pain they may feel is very important. If a child has a bad experience getting a vaccine they may not trust their  healthcare provider and may not want to get other vaccines or health care when needed in the future.

There are many things that can decrease pain and lessen stress and anxiety for children and their parents.  Using a numbing cream, giving children a chance to ask questions,  and informing them about what to expect, letting them choose ways they can be most comfortable when getting a vaccine, and choosing things they can do to distract them can help make children’s vaccination experience uneventful and even positive. 

Talk to your child in an open and honest way. Give them a chance to ask you questions. Listen to your child’s concerns and answer their questions. You can also share information you have found from credible sources with them in an age-appropriate way. See How to Talk to Kids about Getting Vaccinated to guide your conversation. If you or your child have questions about getting the COVID-19 vaccine that you don’t have the answers for, there are a number of available resources to help.

Did you know you can use a numbing cream, gel or patch (EMLA® or Ametop®) that dulls the pain where the needle enters the skin? They are available without a prescription and safe for use with children. Ask your pharmacist or health care provider to show you how and where to apply the product on your child’s upper arm to ensure the numbing is in the right place. Do not use acetaminophen or ibuprofen before your child gets the vaccine.

Talk to your child about what they can expect (video- auto translate option available under settings) and what choices they can make like:

  • If they would like someone to stay with them 
  • If they would like to hold hands or cuddle with anything/anyone (parent, special blanket or toy)
  • Would they like to sit on your lap? (side to side, front to front, or back to front)
  • What arm they would like to get poked (left or right)
  • Do they want to watch or be distracted?
  • What would they like to bring with them for a distraction (book, tablet, game)
  • Do they want to talk or be quiet?
  • What comfortable clothes to choose that allows access to the upper arm
Before the appointment practice with your child ways to relax (jiggle/shake their arm, take deep belly breaths) and help them choose what distractions, if any, they want to use when they are getting vaccinated. They are the experts about what can keep them distracted! For best results use a distraction that uses multiple senses (sight, hearing and touch) and have your child actively participate in the distraction. The more involved they are the better it will work. Plan ahead by bringing items that will help with your child’s comfort (including items to help distract them).
Sometimes parents are more worried or anxious about their child getting a vaccination than their child. Children feel what their parents feel, so it is important for parents to be calm and  positive (take deep breaths to stay calm, use your normal speaking voice). Offer your child praise and encouragement. Positive reinforcement works for kids of all ages.

Vaccine safety and side effects

Vaccines are safe, effective and the best way to protect your child and family from COVID-19, including its highly contagious variants. As of December 24, 2021, 16,555 Simcoe Muskoka children 5 to 11 years have received their first pediatric dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine. The vaccine continues to roll out across the region, province and country with 1,137,403 children receiving at least one dose on a national scale (as of December 18,2021). Careful monitoring for any adverse reactions is occurring as the vaccines is given to this age group.

In the United States over four million children have received their first dose of the  pediatric Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine.

For more information see the FAQ COVID-19 Vaccines for Children and Youth (PDF) English / French

  • On November 19, 2021, Health Canada approved the first COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 years old. On the same day and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) released guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) on the use of the pediatric formulation of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in children 5 to11 years of age. These recommendations are based on current scientific evidence and NACI's expert opinion.
  • The clinical trial showed that the immune response in children 5 to 11 years of age was comparable to the immune response in people 16 to 25 years of age. The vaccine was 90.7% effective at preventing COVID-19 in children 5 to 11 years of age and no serious side effects were identified.
  • After a vaccine is approved, its safety continues to be monitored by Public Health Ontario, Health Canada, and internationally.
  • Adverse events following immunization (AEFIs) are taken seriously and in Ontario, health professionals are required to report AEFIs to their local public health unit. Public health units investigate AEFIs and provide support to immunizers, individuals, and their families.
The Pfizer BioNTech vaccine is the same formula, the only difference is that children 5 to 11 years will get a lower dose (10 micrograms) than people aged 12 and over (30 micrograms). This is because children 5 to 11 years have smaller bodies and a stronger immune response, so they only need a small amount of vaccine to get the same protection. The vaccine will be given to children in two doses (10 micrograms each).

The following mild side effects were observed in children ages 5 to 11 during the first day or two after getting vaccine:

  • Sore arm near the injection site
  • Feeling more tired than usual
  • Headache
  • Achy muscles or joints
  • Chills

There were no serious adverse events related to the vaccine reported as part of the Pfizer study. 

Although very rare cases of myocarditis and pericarditis (heart inflammation) have been reported after getting the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine in youth and young adults, the Pfizer study in children ages 5 to 11 did not observe any cases during the vaccination period and through to 3 months after dose 2. Currently, more research is being done to monitor for this potential adverse event in children. It is important to know that the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis caused by COVID-19 infection is much higher than the risk following COVID-19 vaccination. 

No. Recently a myth around infertility circulated and spread on social media. It was centred around a belief that the spike protein in the vaccine is similar to one found in the placenta (the organ that gives a growing baby oxygen and nutrients), however the spike proteins are actually completely different and therefore any antibodies we make from the vaccine will not impact the placenta.

If your child has a known severe allergy to any ingredients in the vaccine they should not get it. If your child has a history of any severe allergic reactions or any type of immediate allergic reaction to a vaccine or injectable therapy, you should let the immunization staff at your child’s vaccination appointment know so that your child can be monitored for at least 30 minutes after getting the vaccine.

The following resources may be helpful to answer questions you or your child has about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Page last updated: January 5, 2022

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