Last updated: May 2, 2022 at 1:10 p.m.

Book a COVID-19 vaccine at a City-run or hospital immunization clinic using the Province’s registration system or by calling 1-833-943-3900 (TTY 1-866-797-0007). Vaccines are also available at pop-up clinics, pharmacies and some family doctors.

Youth aged 12 to 17 are now eligible for a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine, at least 168 days (six months) after their primary series. Find out more about vaccine eligibility and where to get vaccinated.

Health Canada has approved the use of COVID-19 vaccines for children and youth ages 5 to 17. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) strongly recommends a complete primary series  of a mRNA COVID-19 vaccine for anyone who is 5 years of age and older. Children must be 5 years of age at the time of vaccination.

Health Canada has approved the following doses of messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines for children and youth:

  • Pediatric Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (10 micrograms) for children aged 5 to 11 years old
  • Half dose of Moderna Spikevax vaccine (50 micgrograms) for children 6 to 11 years old
  • Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (30 micrograms) for youth aged 12 and up
  • Moderna Spikevax vaccine (100 micrograms) for youth aged 12 and up

Children and youth who are moderately or severely immunocompromised should receive a three dose primary series.

Children and youth should talk about the benefits and risks of getting the vaccine with a parent or trusted adult. Parents or legal guardians of younger children will usually have to provide consent on behalf of the child before or at the time of the appointment. For a youth to provide their own consent they must understand information about the vaccine, why it is being recommended and what will happen if they accept or refuse vaccination.

At this time, there is no authorized COVID-19 vaccine for children 4 years of age and younger.

Routine childhood vaccination is still important during COVID-19. Vaccines should only be postponed if your child has COVID-19 symptoms. Learn more about routine immunizations for children.

  • Unvaccinated individuals are at the highest risk of severe illness and hospitalization for COVID-19 infection, including in children.
  • COVID-19 can spread very easily. Children infected with COVID-19 and its variants can spread it even if they do not develop symptoms. Most children who get infected with COVID-19 do not usually get very sick. However, some children have developed serious illness and needed hospitalization, even if they did not have other health conditions.
  • COVID-19 infection in children may lead to rare but serious health issues, including:
    • Myocarditis or pericarditis (heart inflammation)
    • Multi-system Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C), a serious inflammatory reaction that occurs about four weeks after having COVID-19. It often requires hospitalization or ICU admission.
  • Long COVID-19: Even with mild symptoms, children can develop a condition called long COVID where they have symptoms weeks or months after getting COVID-19 including shortness of breath, severe tiredness, difficulty concentrating, and more.
  • Getting vaccinated has shown to prevent the rare but serious complications of COVID-19 that can occur in children, and the vaccine is safe.
  • Vaccines can also prevent against current and future variants of COVID-19 and provide longer lasting protection against severe illness, compared to immunity from an infection.
  • Getting vaccinated after a recent COVID-19 infection can provide longer last immunity.

Getting the vaccine is the best way to protect children and people around them from COVID-19 related illness, hospitalization and death.

Vaccinating children helps:

  • Reduce COVID-19 virus spread in the community.
  • Vaccines protect against COVID-19 variants of concern.
  • Provide protection to friends, family and community members, including people too young to get vaccinated and people who have a higher risk of getting very sick.
  • Protect them from severe illness and being hospitalized.
  • Provides protection from long COVID-19, even if they get a COVID-19 infection while vaccinated
  • Provide longer protection against COVID-19 compared to immunity from an infection.

School, sports and other activities

Getting the COVID-19 vaccine helps children participate at school, sports and other activities. Some organizations may require proof of vaccination from those who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in order to participate in activities.

The more children who are vaccinated, the safer school, sports or other activities will be. It will reduce the risk of outbreaks, and prevent closures or disruptions in school and activities. In this way, vaccines help kids get back to ‘normal’, which helps to protect and promote their mental health and wellbeing.

It is still recommended for a child or youth to complete their vaccination series and booster if eligible, even after a COVID-19 infection. Immunity from an infection may not last and you can get COVID-19 again. For recommendations on when to get your COVID-19 vaccine, see Previous COVID-19 Infection.

If the child or youth is a close contact of someone with COVID-19 infection, they can get vaccinated as long as self-isolation (if required) is complete, and they are free of symptoms or their symptoms have resolved.

Vaccination clinics are available for children and their families at:

Children and youth without OHIP cards, may get vaccinated at any COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Toronto. For details, see residents without OHIP Cards.

Participating pharmacies

There are more than 525 participating pharmacies in the City of Toronto offering COVID-19 vaccination for children. Most pharmacies book appointments ahead of time and some allow walk-ins.

Please call or visit the pharmacy’s website to review eligibility criteria and check if you need an appointment or if walk-in (first come, first served) vaccinations are available.

You must bring a valid Ontario health (OHIP) card or other form of valid government-issued identification with you to the appointment.

Find a pharmacy in your neighbourhood.

Family health teams and physicians/paediatricians

In total, there are more than 162 health teams, physicians and paediatricians providing COVID-19 vaccinations in their clinic. Doctors will contact their patients directly if they are participating and will direct you on how to book your appointment.

SickKids

For children ages 5-17, SickKids can help coordinate their COVID-19 vaccination appointment and offer specialized services including drive-through vaccination and the availability of Child Life Specialists and paediatric vaccinators. Visit sickkids.ca/vaccineconsult  to make a booking to speak with a Registered Nurse. If you need assistance booking an appointment, please call 437-881-3505 or toll free at 1-888-304-6558

Homebound vaccinations

Children between five (5) and 18 years old living with medical, physical, cognitive or psychosocial needs/conditions that prevent them from visiting a local clinic, pharmacy, or their care provider may get the COVID-19 vaccination in their home.

First, contact your child’s physician or homecare service to see if they offer home vaccination. If they do not, they will complete the Homebound COVID-19 Vaccination Referral Template form and send it to Toronto Paramedic Services (TPS).  TPS will call you and confirm your eligibility and, if confirmed, schedule a date and time for a Community Paramedic to visit and complete the child’s in-home vaccination.

If you have questions after speaking with your child’s physician, you may contact Toronto Paramedic Services by:

Learn more at eligibility for homebound vaccinations.

  • The Pfizer BioN-Tech (5 to 11 years old) and Moderna Spikevax (6 to 11 years old) vaccines have been tested in clinical trials for children
  • Health Canada has approved the vaccine as safe and effective for this age group, it meets quality standards, and the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks of COVID-19 infection.
  • For people aged 6-29 years of age, Pfizer is the preferred vaccine because of lower reported rates of myocarditis or pericarditis (a rare condition causing inflammation of the heart) following vaccination compared to Moderna.
  • The Moderna vaccine may be preferred for some people, aged 6-17 years of age, with a weakened immune system. Consult with a health care provider for more information.
  • Health Canada continues to monitor for safety.
  • Since the clinical trials, the pediatric vaccines have been given to over 9 million children in the USA. In Toronto over 120,000 children have received at least one dose. The vaccine continues to be safe.
  • The COVID-19 vaccines for children 5 to 11 years are a smaller dose compared to the dose for people age 12 and over. This is because younger children have strong immune systems and need a smaller amount of vaccine to get protected.
  • A lower dose will help reduce vaccine side effects.
  • The recommended interval between first and second doses is 8 weeks.
  • For youth, aged 12-17, it is recommended to get your booster dose at least 168 days (close to 6 months) after completing your primary series. Evidence shows this interval may lower the risk of myocarditis with or without pericarditis. The risks of getting myocarditis and pericarditis following a COVID-19 infection are much higher, even in children and youth.
    • Boosters are safe—they were carefully studied and millions of doses have been given worldwide

Children with Allergies

  • Children with allergies can receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Children with severe allergies to food, medications, and insect bites should all be vaccinated. If your child has had a severe allergic reaction to a vaccine or medical product, or if you have other questions about allergic reactions, speak to your health care provider before getting the shot.

Children who have had Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C)

  • Children who have had MIS-C should wait to be vaccinated for at least 90 days after diagnosis [NACI 2021]

Vaccine Co-administration

  • At this time, NACI suggests children 5 to 11 years old wait at least 14 days between getting another vaccine (including the flu vaccine) and getting the COVID-19 vaccine. This is a precautionary measure and a shortened interval between these vaccines may be given on an individual basis. Talk with a health care provider to discuss your situation.

COVID-19 vaccines and reproductive health

There is no evidence the COVID-19 vaccines impact fertility, long-term menstrual irregularities, puberty, or normal growth and development.

COVID-19 vaccine side effects in children and youth

Common COVID-19 side effects in children and youth are similar to those seen in adults. Side effects are usually mild and go away within one to three days. They include:

  • Sore arm near the injection site
  • Feeling tired
  • Headache
  • Achy muscles or joints
  • Fever and chills

Very rare cases of myocarditis and pericarditis (heart inflammation) have been reported after getting the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine in youth and young adults. It is important to know that there is a greater risk of myocarditis or pericarditis if someone gets COVID-19 compared to getting the COVID-19 vaccine (CDC, September 2021).

At least one dose of the pediatric Pfizer vaccine has been given to over 8 million children in the USA. The vaccine continues to be safe. The risk of myocarditis or pericarditis in children following vaccination is rare.

More information on myocarditis and pericarditis:

It is important to share information in an age-appropriate way with your child about COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccines. See How to Talk to Kids about Getting Vaccinated (French) to guide your conversation.

If your child is afraid of needles

Fear of needles is common. Here are some tips to improve your child’s experience when getting a vaccine:

  • Talk to your child about the health visit. Allow them to ask you and clinic staff questions.
  • Have your child pick an item to bring to the vaccine clinic that will help distract them and/or give them comfort.
  • Have your child wear comfortable clothing that allows easy access to the upper arm.
  • Take deep breaths together with your child and try to stay calm.
  • Offer praise. Positive reinforcement works for kids of all ages.

For more information:

Second dose appointments can be booked after receiving the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

It is strongly recommended that everyone (five years of age and older) get two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. It is recommended that children aged 5 to 11 years old get their second dose eight weeks after receiving their first dose. An eight week interval will allow children to develop a strong and robust immune response to the second dose, which will last longer. It takes two weeks (14 days) after vaccination for full protection. A booster dose may be recommended in the future.

Children who received a pediatric dose of vaccine for their first dose and who turn 12 years old before getting the second dose may receive the youth/adult dose for the second dose. If the second dose given is the pediatric Pfizer vaccine, this is considered valid. A child will be considered up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccines when they receive two doses of the vaccine.

As an added safety measure, children who experience myocarditis/pericarditis after receiving their first dose of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine are recommended to delay their second dose until more information is available. NACI, Public Health Ontario and the Ministry of Health continue to follow this closely and will update this recommendation as more evidence becomes available.

Youth aged 12 to 17 years old are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose at least 168 days (6 months) after completing their primary series. Youth will receive a full dose of the Pfizer vaccine for their booster dose. Moderna is available as a booster, with informed consent.

It is strongly recommended that everyone 12 and older get their booster dose when eligible. Youth will be considered up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccines when they receive their primary series of a COVID-19 vaccine and their booster dose.

Those who have been infected with COVID-19 after completing the primary vaccine series, but before the booster dose, are recommended to receive their booster dose 3 months after symptom onset or positive test (if asymptomatic).

Learn more about booster doses.

Download posters and graphics about vaccine-related information for children here. You can also find resources related to vaccines for the general public as well as face masks, physical distancing, washing your hands, and more.

Document Image Description
Get the COVID-19 vaccine for 5-11 year olds. Download the 8.5″ x 11″ poster for Let’s get TO Kids Vaccinated – Get the COVID-19 vaccine for 5-11 year olds.
COVID-19 vaccine now available for ages 5-11 Download the 8.5″ x 11″ poster for Let’s get TO Kids Vaccinated – COVID-19 vaccine now available for ages 5-11.
COVID-19 vaccine now available for ages 5-11 Download the 11″ x 8.5″ poster for Let’s get TO Kids Vaccinated – COVID-19 vaccine now available for ages 5-11.
COVID-19 vaccine now available for ages 5-11 Download the 11″ x 8.5″ poster for Let’s get TO Kids Vaccinated – COVID-19 vaccine now available for ages 5-11.

 

 

Routine immunization for infants and toddlers is still important during COVID-19. Vaccine preventable diseases are still spreading globally. Waiting to vaccinate can leave children vulnerable to diseases. Vaccines should only be postponed if your child is sick with respiratory symptoms to prevent any possible spread of COVID-19.

Immunization is not just for kids. The vaccines you need may depend on your age, health condition, occupation, travel habits, environment, and lifestyle. Talk to your healthcare provider about whether you need to be vaccinated during COVID19 and how to safely attend a clinic.

Before Your Visit

  • Choose only one parent or guardian to accompany your child’s appointment.
  • Do not attend a clinic if you or your child is sick. Call to reschedule an appointment.
  • Review tips to improve your child’s immunization experience.
  • Bring your child’s immunization card to the appointment or download the CANImmunize app.
  • Talk to your child about the visit so they know what to expect. Your child may feel a poke or pinch for a few seconds.
  • Have your child choose a blanket, stuffed toy or a book for distraction or comfort.

During the Visit

  • Wait in the car until they are ready for your child, if feasible.
  • Sanitize your hands when entering the building.
  • If spending time in the waiting room with others, consider wearing a face mask.
  • Keep six feet distance from others.

After Vaccination

  • After vaccination, stay at the clinic for 15 minutes to monitor for any reactions.
  • Offer praise. Positive reinforcement works for children of all ages.
  • Sanitize your hands when leaving the building.
  • At home, monitor your child for any side effects. For minor reactions such as fever, irritability or a sore arm, use acetaminophen or ibuprofen as directed by your doctor.
  • If you notice any changes in your child’s health, such as unusual fussing, crying or low energy, call your doctor.

For information about COVID-19 vaccines and their availability in Toronto, please visit our COVID-19 vaccines page.