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Children 5 to 11 years

The Pfizer BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 years has been approved by Health Canada. Visit the Health Canada website for information about approved vaccines, types of vaccines and on-going safety monitoring. We do encourage you to make an informed choice about this vaccine, in the same way that you do when considering other vaccinations for your child. Take the time to review the information below and if you have any questions talk to your health care provider.

Getting the vaccine

Children born between 2010 and 2016 are eligible to receive the children’s Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Two does of the vaccine are recommended with at least eight weeks between the first and second dose.

The vaccine is available locally at: 

    Click here for vaccine standby list BUTTON2

Please note:

  • For children coming to a community clinic that would benefit from accommodations or additional supports to ensure their clinic experience is a positive one, parents/caregivers can call Health Connection 705-721-7520 (1-877-721-7520) ext. 5997 to speak with a nurse or arrive 15 minutes before the appointment and see the clinic coordinator to make arrangements. 
  • 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.

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

YOU ARE INVITED! 
Live virtual Q & A for parents on COVID-19 vaccinations for 5 to 11 year olds:

Details:

  • Wednesday, December 8, 2021
  • 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Featuring:

  • Dr. Colin Lee, SMDHU Associate Medical Officer of Health,
  • Dr. Rania Harim, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre Pediatrician
  • Jocelyn Leworthy, Certified Child Life Specialist 

The event will be hosted on Microsoft Teams and a link will be posted on this page closer to the date.

Our local data shows that in October, the rate of new cases in children under 12 was more than twice the rate in adult age groups. 

In the spring and early summer of 2021 new cases in youth aged 12 to 17 were higher than in children under 12, but from August 2021 onward, those under 12 now have the higher infection rate. This change is related to increasing vaccination rates among the youth 12 to 17.

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. Vaccines have helped us safely get back to the places and things we love such as going to school, participating in recreation and leisure activities, going to restaurants and concerts, and shopping. Vaccines make these places safer for everyone, including those who cannot get vaccinated, or who are at increased risk of getting very sick.

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.

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. A parent or legal guardian must be available by phone to provide verbal consent and review health history.

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.

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. 
More information on the side effects will be provided when the vaccine is approved by Health Canada.

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: November 26, 2021

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