Ages 12 to 17
Children aged 12-17 will be offered an mRNA vaccine, either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna. Health Canada has approved these vaccines for people aged 12 and older. Millions of doses of vaccine have been given to young people worldwide. The vaccines are safe and effective at preventing severe illness for this age group.
People 12 years and older will receive an invite to book a booster dose appointment about 6 months after their second dose. B.C. is also planning a fall booster dose program for people 12 years and older.
Learn more about booster doses for young people ages 12 to 17.
Vaccine safety for youth
Millions of youth aged 12-17 have safely received the vaccine in Canada . Vaccinated youth are much less likely to get sick from COVID-19 or be hospitalized.
Here are five things you need to know about the vaccines:
- Vaccines greatly reduce the chance of getting and spreading COVID-19
- Each vaccine goes through a rigorous testing and approval process
- The ingredients have been researched for over two decades
- Vaccines teach your body how to launch its own immune response
- Side effects are completely normal after receiving a vaccine.
Learn more about Vaccine Safety for Youth.
Parents or guardians and their children are encouraged to review and discuss vaccines and make a decision about immunization together.
Children under the age of 19 who are able to understand the benefits and possible reactions for the vaccine, and the risk of not getting immunized, can legally consent to or refuse immunizations on their own.
Learn more about mature minor consent. This document is also available in multiple languages on our Translated Content page.
In rare cases, people have experienced inflammation of the heart following immunization with a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine. Two conditions, called myocarditis and pericarditis, have occurred more often in younger adult and adolescent males and after the second dose.
These events have been reported in B.C. at a rate of 1.5 per 100,000 doses of mRNA vaccine administered, and are seen more often after the second dose, and in males under 40 years of age. Most cases will have symptoms within a few days of vaccine receipt.
Typically, this condition has been mild to moderate. People have recovered with or without treatment.
The exact cause of these events is not known but is thought to be related to the immune response to the spike protein which is also important in immunity against COVID-19 virus.
For more information, visit the Vaccine Safety page.
COVID-19 vaccines can be safely given at the same time or any time before or after any other live or inactivated vaccine. This includes the influenza vaccine.
If you are getting a COVID-19 vaccine you do not need to delay getting an influenza vaccine.
It's especially important to protect yourself against respiratory viruses during cold and flu season. If you get any two vaccines at the same time or close together, care providers will usually administer the vaccines in different arms/ limbs.
Youth are expected to experience similar side effects as adults, though may experience some of them more often, like headaches, chills and fever. The Vaccination Aftercare handout provides more information about common side effects and how to manage them.
Having questions about vaccination is normal. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines
to help decide if vaccination is the right choice for you or your family. You can also call 8-1-1 or talk to a health care provider if you have questions.