Ages 5 to 11
Any child between five and 11 years old can receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccines will be available soon. If your child is four years old, you will only be able to get them vaccinated after their fifth birthday. The vaccines are free and your children do not need BC Care Cards to receive them.
- Parents can register their child in the
Get Vaccinated system to be notified of when your child can get vaccinated.
In general, children should be informed about the vaccine close to the actual day of the vaccine. For school-age children, one day before may be appropriate.
You should encourage your child to ask any questions they may have about the vaccine. It’s important that they understand what will happen at the appointment and feel comfortable.
It may be several years since they last had a vaccine and they may not remember it. If you have already had your COVID-19 vaccine you can share your own experience with them. Be honest.
- They may feel a pinch or poke with the needle, but it will be very quick.
- Their arm may feel heavy or sore for a few hours, but the feeling will go away.
You can also use
the CARD system - Comfort, Ask, Relax, Distract to help your child find their preferred way to prepare for the vaccine.
Some people find that
numbing creams or patches help. You can buy these without a prescription at most pharmacies. These can be applied an hour before the vaccine appointment.
more information on preparing your child for the vaccine.
Do not focus your child’s attention on the needle with comments like “It’ll be over soon, and you’ll be okay.” Research shows that reassurance and apologies offered before the immunization are associated with increased stress in the child.
Instead, use other strategies such as distraction with puzzles or talking, and breathing techniques.
Healthcare providers at immunization clinics are trained to work with children and can help you work with your child to support them.
There are some common side effects such as pain, and redness at the injection site. These will pass quickly. Headache, muscle aches and fever or chills are quite a bit less common compared to adolescents who received the adult vaccine. Serious side effects are very rare, but if you notice any health or behaviour changes contact 811 or your healthcare provider.
One very rare side effect that has been seen mostly in males under 40 is myocarditis or inflammation of the heart muscle. Most cases were mild and were treated with rest and their symptoms improved quickly. The risk of myocarditis in children who get COVID-19 is greater than the risk following the vaccination.
Symptoms to look out for:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling of a rapid or abnormal heart rhythm
If your child experiences these symptoms seek medical attention right away. Inform the health care provider that your child received a COVID-19 vaccine recently.
COVID-19 vaccination has no impact on future fertility. There is no biological way for this to occur.
Parents/Guardians (including foster parents and prospective adoptive parents): Unless their decision-making rights have been legally revoked or the child has consented as a mature minor.
Other custodial caregivers: For example, a relative who is raising the child. You do not need to bring proof of authority.
Only one parent or legal guardian is required to give consent.
The process for collecting consent may be different depending on the immunization clinic you attend.
Jesse is going to get a COVID-19 vaccine and is a little nervous. Jesse brought a favourite toy and used belly breathing to feel calm. There was a tiny pinch on the arm and it was over. “That was easy!” Jesse is now a COVID-19 vaccine superhero!
Read or print Jesse's story in colour
Colour in your own COVID-19 vaccine hero badge like Jesse's
As with any other vaccine, COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5-11 have to go through a thorough and independent scientific review of the evidence before being approved in Canada. This ensures all approved vaccines are safe and effective.
Data from clinical trials and studies in children should show that:
- The vaccine is safe.
- The vaccine works.
- It produces a strong immune response.
- It prevents severe outcomes.
Over two decades of research and scientific expertise have gone into the COVID-19 vaccines before any clinical trial was initiated.
Health Canada approves the vaccine for use in Canada if:
- Data shows the benefits outweigh any risks
- It is safe and effective
- The product is high quality
- The manufacturing facilities meet standards
NACI is an independent group of experts that provide guidance on the use of approved vaccines. They consider:
Safety and efficacy data from clinical trials and real-world use
The impact of COVID-19 in children
The benefits of immunization in children
Ethical issues (e.g. equity, feasibility, acceptability)
Governments and health authorities consider:
- Health Canada approval
- NACI recommendations
- Vaccine supply and logistics
- Local COVID-19 disease patterns and cases
Large amounts of evidence on safety and efficacy continue to be reviewed and tracked as children in B.C., Canada, and the rest of the world get vaccinated.
This evidence ensures that decision-making is informed by data.
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.
Open this document with FAQs and information about COVID-19 vaccination for 5 to 11-year-olds.
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Yes. Currently, the Delta variant is the most common COVID-19 variant in BC. The Delta variant is passed from person to person more easily than previous variants. We also know that it infects children more than other variants that we’ve seen in the province.
While the majority of children who get COVID-19 have a minor illness, a small number of them can get very sick. Additionally, some children may continue to have health issues for long periods of time after the initial illness. Infected children are also able to pass on COVID-19 to other people in their families and communities.
You can find more information about BC COVID-19 cases in children through our data summaries on the
BC COVID-19 Data page.
Currently, only the Pfizer vaccine is available for use in children aged 5-11. This is the same as the Pfizer vaccine adults and older children get but in a smaller dose.
Younger children get a smaller dose because that is the dose that has been found to provide excellent protection in that age group. Smaller doses are frequent for many vaccines and medications.
The dose is not based on the size or weight of the child, but by age- a 12-year-old child who is small for their age is not eligible for the smaller dose. Some children may get different doses in their series depending on their age.
For example, an 11-year-old with a birthday in early 2022 would get a child dose for their first vaccine and an adult dose for their second vaccine.
For younger children - You can explain that the vaccine can help make sure they don’t get sick from COVID-19. It helps their body to quickly fight off the virus that causes COVID-19.
The vaccine is so powerful that when they get it they help to protect the people around them including their family and friends because if they don’t get sick they can’t pass it on.
For older children -
Kids Boost Immunity has videos that explain how vaccines work. You can remind them that getting this vaccine will help protect them and let them keep other people safe.
There are simple breathing techniques that young children can learn that help them to keep calm. Have young children practice breathing exercises by asking them to breathe like they are blowing bubbles or blowing out candles. Anxiety Canada has
on how to practice this.
A team from BC Children’s Hospital has
developed a game
that helps children practice belly breathing which is able to help children manage anxiety and their response to pain.
If your child has a history of fainting at the sight of needles you can practice
this tension technique
to reduce the chance of this happening.
Yes. The COVID-19 vaccine can be given at the same time as other childhood vaccinations, including the flu vaccine.
All of these support techniques apply to other childhood vaccinations. If you are not sure if your child is up-to-date with their vaccines check
children's immunizations schedules and arrange with your healthcare provider to have any vaccinations that may have been missed to be given as soon as possible.