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Children and COVID-19 Vaccination

Information on COVID-19 vaccination for children.

Last Updated: October 15, 2021

COVID-19 vaccination for ages 12 to 17

Vaccination is currently available for youth ages 12 and older. Getting young people vaccinated helps protect them and the people around them. Everyone eligible should get two doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

Youth ages 12 and older can register and book appointments to be vaccinated for COVID-19 or visit a drop-in clinic. Like adults, young people will need two doses of the vaccine for long-term protection.

Pfizer-BioNTech's Comirnaty and Moderna's SpikeVax COVID-19 vaccines are available to young people age 12 and older in B.C.


The vaccines have been approved by Health Canada and recommended by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization.


Learn more about COVID-19 vaccination information for young people age 12 to 17.


Vaccine considerations for children are similar to adults. The vaccine can be given to children who take medications regularly, including youth with conditions that make them clinically extremely vulnerable

 

Most people with a history of allergies are still able to receive the COVID-19 vaccines. Youth who have a history of a severe allergy (anaphylaxis) to any of the vaccine ingredients should consult with an allergist. Vaccination should be delayed for 90 days following MIS-C (the rare multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children).

 

Youth are expected to experience similar side effects as adults, though may experience some of them more often, like headache, chills and fever. The Vaccination Aftercare handout provides more information about common side effects and how to manage them. 

 
Symptoms such as hives, swelling of the face, tongue or throat or difficulty breathing are signs of a severe allergic reaction and you should seek medical attention or call 9-1-1 right away. Severe allergic reactions are rare and respond well to treatment.
 
The rare but serious blood clotting events associated with the viral vector-based COVID-19 vaccines (including AstraZeneca, COVISHIELD and Janssen) do not occur with the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna).  
 
Young people will need to continue to follow public health recommendations after they are vaccinated, like respecting personal space, wearing a mask, and cleaning their hands.


 

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 at an overall rate of about 5 cases per million doses.


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.


 
When a young person is vaccinated, they can be exposed to COVID-19 without getting sick. If they do get sick, it’s usually not very serious. Most young people aren’t likely to get very sick from COVID-19, but some will. Being vaccinated is the best way to protect young people from COVID-19.   
 
Having young people vaccinated helps protect the people around them too, including those who might get very sick from COVID-19. If a young person is vaccinated, they are much less likely to spread COVID-19. 
 
The more people who are vaccinated in B.C., the harder it is for COVID-19 to spread. This helps protect everyone. Public health recommends all eligible people get a COVID-19 vaccine. 
 
Having questions about vaccination is normal. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccination 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. 
 
Not all COVID-19 vaccine information is reliable. Learn how to find trusted information about vaccines
 
COVID-19 vaccines will continue to be available in B.C. You don’t have to decide right now if you’re not sure.
 
Learn more about COVID-19 vaccination information for young people age 12 to 17.


 
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.


COVID-19 vaccination for ages 5 to 11

Vaccinations for children ages 5 to 11 are not yet available. You can register your child with the Get Vaccinated system now and will be notified when your child can get vaccinated.

As with any other vaccine, COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5-11 have to go through the rigorous review and approval process set in Canada. This ensures all approved vaccines are safe and effective.

Steps for vaccine approval

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 BC, Canada and the rest of the world get vaccinated. 


This evidence ensures that decision making is informed by data.

 







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