December 20, 2022 Update: The bivalent booster is available for ages 5-11 starting on December 21, 2022.
Book an appointment for Ages 5-11 online or call 1-800-265-7293 ext. 7006.
Children ages 5-11 can drop-in to a vaccine clinic, no appointment needed. Visit the Drop-ins page for clinic locations and times. First, second dose and booster appointments can also be booked online at wdgpublichealth.ca/appointments.
Where to book an appointment
- Book an appointment with your healthcare provider, Public Health or at a participating pharmacy
There are a few ways to book an appointment for children ages 5-11 listed below.
Contact your primary care provider
- If you have a doctor or other primary care provider, please contact them to see if they are vaccinating children.
- The following Family Health Teams are booking COVID-19 vaccines:
- Guelph Family Health Team: Appointments can be booked through Public Health either online or by calling 1-800-265-7293 ext. 7006.
- Mount Forest Family Health Team (taking appointments for rostered patients and those who live in the area who do not have a primary care provider): Book an appointment over the phone or online - visit their website for details.
Book an appointment with Public Health
- Contact Public Health to book an appointment by calling 1-800-265-7293 ext. 7006 or book an appointment online. You can also drop-in to a clinic for a vaccine for ages 5-11, no appointment needed.
Contact a Participating Pharmacy
- You can book an appointment for your child through a participating pharmacy. To find a pharmacy location near your home, visit covid-19.ontario.ca/vaccine-locations. Visit the pharmacy website or call to see if they are booking COVID-19 vaccine appointments for ages 5-11.
- Who to contact with questions about the vaccine
We encourage you to contact your trusted healthcare provider to help make an informed decision and answer your questions about the COVID-19 vaccine for kids. You could also:
- Contact the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900 (Open 7 days a week, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in over 300 languages) with COVID-19 vaccine questions.
- Speak to a Public Health Nurse by calling 1-800-265-7293 ext. 7006.
- View Dr. Tenenbaum’s Parent/Caregiver COVID-19 vaccine information session (Video). Many common questions submitted by parents are answered in the presentation.
There is a lot of COVID-19 vaccine information online as well, but not all of it is reliable. The BC Centre for Disease Control has some tips to help you spot misinformation. We have provided a list of reliable information sources at the bottom of this page.
About the pediatric vaccine, dosage, safety and efficacy
What COVID-19 vaccine will my child receive?
Health Canada has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech (also known as Comirnaty®) COVID-19 mRNA vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 and the Pfizer-BioNTech Omicron bivalent booster. Refer to Use of COVID-19 booster doses in children 5 to 11 years of age from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) for more information.
What dose of the vaccine will children ages 5-11 receive?
National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has recommended the following:
- Children ages 5-11 will receive a pediatric dose of 10 micrograms, which is one third (1/3) of the dose given to age 12+.
- Two doses is recommended.
- The interval between doses is recommended to be eight weeks (but can be as early as 21 days after the first dose with informed consent).
The bivalent booster is also 1/3 of the dose given to age 12+.
- When can my child get their booster dose?
The interval between the second dose and booster dose for ages 5-11 is recommended to be at least six months since their last dose or confirmed COVID-19 infection. Call 1-800-265-7293 ext. 7006 or book an appointment online. You can also drop-in to a clinic, no appointment needed.
How effective is the vaccine for children?
The clinical trial data showed that vaccination with two doses was 91% effective in preventing COVID-19 among children ages 5-11, including the Delta variant. Children have a stronger immune response to vaccines and the smaller dose provides similar levels of protective antibodies as the adult vaccine produced in adults aged 16-25.
- What are the common side effects?
The most common side effect is a sore arm (pain, swelling and/or redness at the site of injection).
Other side effects that your child may experience as their bodies are building up protection include tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever and nausea. These will go away within a few days.
Some children have no side effects.
What are the serious side effects?
No new serious side effects were seen in the Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty®) vaccine trials for children.
A severe allergic reaction (called “anaphylaxis”) after vaccination, is extremely rare (0.0002 - 0.0008%, or 2-8 per million doses for age 12+) and when it does happen, vaccination providers have medicines available that they can use to effectively and immediately treat the reaction.
You will be asked to stay for 15-30 minutes after you get your vaccine so your child can be observed and provided treatment in the rare case it is needed.
Could there be any long-term side effects?
Long-term side effects are not expected from mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. mRNA does not stay in the cell longer than needed to generate immunity and is expelled from the body within a few days to a week.
Vaccine monitoring has historically shown that side effects tend to happen within the first six weeks after vaccination and safety data submitted for children ages 5-11 includes data for a minimum of two months following the second dose. Safety monitoring is ongoing by both Health Canada, PHAC and monitoring agencies around the world.
Do I need to worry about myocarditis (inflammation of the heart) and pericarditis (inflammation of the sac around the heart) after COVID-19 vaccination?
Myocarditis and pericarditis are rare side effects of a COVID-19 vaccine. This type of inflammation happens most frequently in young males after their second dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine and in most cases can be treated with rest and anti-inflammatory medicines. While there is a small risk of this condition after vaccination, the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis is much higher among those who contract COVID-19.
Very rare cases of inflammation have been reported after COVID-19 vaccination. Cases reported were more commonly adolescent and young males after the second dose. Cases experienced mild illness and responded well to treatment and rest and symptoms improved quickly.
No cases of myocarditis or pericarditis were reported in the clinical trial for children ages 5–11 years.
Myocarditis and pericarditis happen more often in people with COVID-19 infection.
For more information, visit:
Importance of getting children vaccinated against COVID-19
What are the risks of COVID-19 infection in children? Aren’t most cases mild for kids?
So far, most children infected with COVID-19 experience mild symptoms. However, even though the risk of serious illness or death is low in children, the risk is not zero and some children develop severe disease and require hospitalization.
Children who get a mild or severe case of COVID-19 are at risk of getting myocarditis/pericarditis, Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C) (most common in children aged 5 to 11) and/or long covid (i.e. lasting symptoms after COVID-19 infection like tiredness, headaches, sore throat and loss of taste/smell.)
Children with underlying chronic medical conditions are also at greater risk for a more severe case of COVID-19.
It is difficult to know how COVID-19 infection may affect each child.
What are the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination for children?
The risk of being exposed to COVID-19 in our community remains high. A COVID-19 vaccine can prevent your child from getting sick with COVID-19 and from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to others.
Ontario data has shown that the majority of people who get seriously sick with COVID-19 (e.g., are hospitalized or in the ICU) are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.
Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can also help keep your child in school and more safely participate and play with other children during playdates, sleepovers and while playing sports and other group activities. Vaccine protection can also help prevent spreading the virus to family members at higher risk or who are unable to be vaccinated.
Why should I vaccinate my kids now?
Parents and caregivers are urged to get their children vaccinated as soon as it is available to them.
- The vaccine will protect children from getting sick with COVID-19.
- The virus is continuing to spread, including the highly transmissible Delta/Omicron variants.
- Unvaccinated people are much more likely to get a more severe case of COVID-19. In Ontario, most patients who are hospitalized and admitted to the ICU for COVID-19 are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.
- The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and resulting disruptions have caused academic, social, physical and socio-economic impacts to children. (Stats Can, 2021)
My child already had COVID-19, do they still need to get vaccinated? What about natural immunity?
Your child may have some immunity if they already had COVID-19, but it is unclear how long it will last or how effective a natural immune response may be. It will vary from person to person. The COVID-19 vaccine can help protect your child against re-infection and develop a stronger immune response.
Preparing for your child to get vaccinated
- What should I do to prepare for my child’s appointment?
Visit wdgpublichealth.ca/vaccine-prep for what to do to prepare for your vaccine appointment.
- Is consent is required at my child’s appointment?
If you are the parent or legal guardian who is attending the appointment with your child, verbal consent can be provided at the appointment.
If your child is going to their appointment with someone other than their parent or legal guardian and the child is not capable of providing their own consent, please complete this consent form and bring it to the appointment. If the person bringing your child to their appointment does not have a signed consent form with them, we are required to contact the parent or legal guardian to obtain consent prior to immunizing.
A person is capable of giving consent to vaccination if they:
- Understand the information that’s important to making a decision concerning vaccination, and
- Understand the consequences of a decision or lack of a decision
How can I request accessibility, accommodation or language supports for my child’s vaccine appointment at Public Health?
To request accessibility, accommodation and/or language support at your vaccine appointment, please call us at 1-800-265-7293 ext. 7006 or email email@example.com at least two business days before your scheduled appointment if possible.
Can/should I give my child pain relievers before getting the COVID-19 vaccine?
It is not recommended you give pain relievers before vaccination to try to prevent side effects. However, numbing skin patches or creams can be purchased from a pharmacy in advance of the clinic help children who are worried about pain. These products are not available through Public Health.
- Can my child get vaccinated with other vaccines at the same time as COVID-19?
According to the National Advisory Committee on Immunizations (NACI), in people aged 12 years old and older, COVID-19 vaccines may be given at the same time as, or anytime before or after, other vaccines, including the influenza (flu) vaccine.
For children 5-11, NACIs recommendation is to wait 14 days before or after receiving other vaccines, such as the flu vaccine. This is a precautionary recommendation to monitor any side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine or another vaccine.
If your child has received or requires other vaccines within 14 days of the COVID-19 vaccine, speak with your child’s health care provider about the timing.
My child has allergies. Can they safely get the COVID-19 vaccine?
If your child has allergies that are unrelated to vaccines or injectable medications (e.g., types of food, pets) it is still recommended your child receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
If your child is allergic to an ingredient in the COVID-19 vaccine or has had a previous allergic reaction to a vaccine or injectable medicine, talk to your doctor about whether your child should be vaccinated.
My child is immunocompromised. Is it safe to receive the vaccine?
The mRNA COVID-19 vaccines do not contain live virus and therefore they can be given safely to immunocompromised patients. Talk to your doctor about your child’s specific condition for more information.
CARD system and resources to help with fear and anxiety
- What can I expect at a Public Health clinic to help with fear and anxiety (CARD system)?
Public Health clinics are implementing the CARD system (Comfort, Ask, Relax, Distract) to help lower stress or anxiety and create a more positive vaccine experience.
Comfort – find ways to be comfortable:
- The walls of the vaccine rooms will be decorated with child-friendly posters and artwork to make the area more visually pleasing to children.
- Children will have the option to sit on their own, lay down or sit on a parent/caregiver’s lap to receive their vaccination.
Ask – ask questions to be prepared:
- Write down any questions you or your child may have and ask as many as you like before, during and after vaccination.
Relax – keep yourself calm:
- All family members will be welcome at the appointment and Public Health will accommodate multiple family members being vaccinated together.
- Public Health clinics are being updated to offer more privacy to families of children being vaccinated – with privacy screens where multiple vaccinations are taking place, and private rooms in locations where possible.
Distract – shift your attention:
- Distraction aids will be provided, or children can bring their own comfort/distraction items.
Nervous About Getting Needles (PDF) has more ideas to help at your appointment or visit CARD for Kids and Adolescents.
- What resources are available to help prepare my child and reduce stress, anxiety, fear of needles and/or pain?
Here are some helpful and evidence-based resources to help prepare your child for the vaccine:
- CARD for Kids and Adolescents
- Before, during and after shots (CDC)
- Make shots less stressful (CDC)
- How to hold your child (CDC)
- Card for Parents
- Needle-related Fainting: Why does it happen? What to do about it?
- Children’s Fear Scale Acute Pain and Needle Fear Resources
- Nervous about Needles?
- Needles don’t have to hurt
- Needle Fears and Phobia
- Reduce the Pain of Vaccination in Kids and Teens
- Help eliminate pain in kids and adults
- How to Handle Your Shots Like a Champ
- The CARD System for coping with fears and anxiety
Reliable information sources
Trusted and reliable sources of COVID-19 vaccine information for kids
NOTE: Check back to these resources as information will be updated as it comes available in Canada.
- Ontario Ministry of Health: COVID-19 Vaccine Information Sheet: For Children (age 5-11) Fact Sheet
- PHAC: Vaccines for children: COVID-19
- Health Canada Approval (November 19, 2021)
- NACI Statement - Recommendation on the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (10 mcg) in children 5-11 years of age (November 19, 2021)
- CDC – COVID-19 Vaccines for Children and Teens (US)
- SickKids Vaccine Consult Service
- Hamilton Health Sciences
- PHAC – Reported side effects following COVID-19 vaccination in Canada
- Immunize BC
- University of Waterloo – Focused Covid Communication - FAQs about COVID-19 mRNA vaccines for children
- Canadian Paediatric Society
- Vaccines for children: COVID-19 - Canada.ca
- PHAC: A Parent’s Guide to Vaccination
- PHO: COVID-19 infection in children