Last updated: January 24, 2022 at 4:55 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.

Children 5 to 17 years old are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine:

  • Children 5 to 11 years old should receive the pediatric Pfizer (10 micrograms) dose. Children must be 5 years of age at the time of vaccination.
  • Youth 12 years of age and older should continue to receive the Pfizer (30 micrograms) dose.

Children 5 to 17 years of age should talk about the benefits and risks of getting the vaccine with a parent or trusted adult. This means the young person must understand information about the vaccine, why it is being recommended and what will happen if they accept or refuse vaccination. 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.

On May 5, 2021, Health Canada approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12 to 15.

On November 19, 2021, Health Canada authorized the use of Pediatric Pfizer-BioNTech and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends a complete series (two doses) of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. This pediatric COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for the 5 to 11 age group.

If your child is COVID-19 positive or a close contact

If your child has tested positive for COVID-19 or has been identified as a close contact with someone who is COVID-19 positive, your child:

  • Should wait to get their vaccine and should not attend a vaccine clinic until their isolation period is over
  • Can receive the COVID-19 vaccine series once they no longer show symptoms of COVID-19 infection

Risks of COVID-19 in children

  • In Toronto, between September and November 2021, children age 4 to 13 years old had the highest rate of COVID-19 infection compared to all other age groups.
  • Unvaccinated individuals are at the highest risk of getting COVID-19.
  • Children with COVID-19 infection can spread it, even if they do not develop symptoms.
  • Children who get infected with COVID-19 usually experience mild symptoms, or no symptoms. However, some children have developed severe symptoms 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.
  • Children can develop long COVID, where they have symptoms long after getting COVID-19 infection, such as shortness of breath, severe tiredness, difficulty concentrating, and more. This can happen even if children have mild COVID-19 symptoms.

Children should get vaccinated, even if they usually have milder symptoms

  • The vaccine reduces the risk of getting COVID-19 infection.
  • The vaccine reduces the risk of getting very sick and being hospitalized if someone does get infected with COVID-19.
  • With the more transmissible variant of concern, Omicron, the best thing you can do to protect your children and those who can’t get vaccinated (children under 5) is to get them vaccinated as soon as possible and continue to follow public health measures to help reduce virus spread.
  • Based on recent Ontario Ministry of Health data, the risk of getting a rare and less severe side effect (such as myocarditis or pericarditis) following COVID-19 vaccination in 12-17 year olds is 10x lower compared to COVID-19-related ICU admission for children 0-17 years old.
  • People who are fully vaccinated may not have to self-isolate if they are a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Vaccines have helped schools, extra-curricular activities and businesses re-open while keeping the spread of COVID-19 low. They also make these places safer for everyone, including those who cannot get vaccinated, or who are at increased risk of getting very sick.

School, sports and other activities

Getting the COVID-19 vaccine helps children go back to 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.

Learn more about the benefits of being fully vaccinated.

Team Toronto will place every available resource into a multi-pronged clinic delivery model. This model includes large fixed-site clinics, including:

The initial vaccine roll-out will include school-based clinics in 34 Toronto neighbourhoods over a three to four week period.

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

Toronto hospital and health teams vaccination clinics

Some Hospital and Ontario Health Team (OHT) immunization clinics are providing vaccination to individuals in Toronto. Some locations require appointments, others may offer walk-in vaccinations. Please check their website to review eligibility criteria and booking details for each clinic.

Participating pharmacies

There are more than 450 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.

School mobile clinics

A mobile school clinic model has been developed in partnership between Team Toronto partners, Toronto Public Health (TPH) and the city’s four public school boards. TPH is working to bring COVID-19 vaccinations or access to nearby vaccinations to all public schools in the city.

Parents/guardians and children will receive notice from their school when a clinic is hosted. Specific school vaccine clinic details will be sent in a letter from principals, for their school only.

Family health teams and physicians/paediatricians

In total, there are more than 130 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.

Specialized accommodations/clinics

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital

Holland Bloorview is hosting a specialty COVID-19 vaccination clinic for children aged 5-11 with disabilities. This family-friendly and fully-accessible clinic offers quiet spaces, language translation and ASL to those who need.

Location: Holland Bloorview main level, Coriat Atrium, 150 Kilgour Road

Dates/hours: January 21 & 28, February 4 & 18, 2022, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Register online to book an appointment. Accommodations requests will be taken during the registration process.

Note that for second dose appointments it must be at least 56 days since the child’s first dose.

Clinic questions: info@hollandbloorview.ca | text or phone: 416-400-8876 | Mon-Fri: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Vaccination questions: Toronto Public Health Hotline | 416-338-7600 or TTY: 416-392-0658 | Daily: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

CAMH

The CAMH Vaccine Clinic is a small, specialty clinic focussed on supporting medical anxiety and needlephobia. This clinic is run by CAMH staff and physicians.

Book an appointment by emailing vaccinationclinic@camh.ca and share any details about additional assistance or accommodations your child may need to support their vaccination.

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 COVID-19 vaccine has been tested in clinical trials for children age 5 to 11.
  • 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.
  • Health Canada continues to monitor for safety.
  • The COVID-19 vaccine for children 5 to 11 years is a smaller dose (one-third) 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.
  • 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.
  • Compared to the Pfizer vaccine used for people age 12 and over, the pediatric Pfizer vaccine is considered a new product because it uses different buffers (tromethamine/Tris buffers that are commonly used in a variety of other approved vaccines, including for children) that improve stability and storage of the vaccine. This means it can be stored in regular fridges providing us faster and greater access to the vaccine.
  • Children who have had Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C) should wait to be vaccinated for at least 90 days after diagnosis [NACI 2021]
  • At this time, NACI suggests children 5 to11 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 vaccine side effects in children

Common COVID-19 side effects in children 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. During the clinical trials among 5 to 11 year-olds, no cases of myocarditis or pericarditis were found. Monitoring for safety of vaccines is ongoing and recommendations will be updated accordingly.

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).

More information on myocarditis and pericarditis:

Clinical trial data for children 5 to 11 can be found on the Recommendation on the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (10mcg) in children 5-11 years of age (NACI).

COVID-19 vaccines and reproductive health

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

Learn more about how the vaccines were developed and approved and about the optimal time between first and second dose.

Pfizer BioNtech conducted a clinical trial of their COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 – 11 years.

Clinical trial summary:

  • The randomized placebo-controlled trial included approximately 4,600 children from USA, Finland, Poland and Spain
  • Study participants included children who:
    • have tested positive for COVID-19 previously
    • have obesity and/or underlying medical conditions
    • identify as Black, American Indian, multi-racial, Asian, Hispanic/Latino and White
  • Children in the vaccine group received two 10 microgram doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine 21 days apart
  • The dose is 1/3 the amount in the vaccine available for people 12+
  • During the study, three individuals from the vaccine group and 16 individuals from the placebo group tested positive for COVID-19
    • Of these individuals, children in the vaccinated group had fewer and less severe symptoms compared to the children in the placebo group
  • Side effects were similar to those seen in people 12+ who have received the COVID-19 vaccine (e.g., pain at the injection site, fatigue, headache).
    • Majority of side effects occurred in the first one to two days following the vaccine, were mild and resolved quickly.
    • No serious side effects were identified during the study, including no cases of myocarditis
  • The vaccine was found to be 90.7 per cent effective in preventing COVID-19 in children 5 to 11 years of age
  • This COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for use in children 5 to 11 years old in the US.
  • Monitoring for safety is ongoing.

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 the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is received.

It is strongly recommended that everyone (five years of age and older) get two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. As recommended by NACI, children should get their second dose eight weeks after receiving their first dose. It has been shown that longer intervals between the first and second dose provide better protection against COVID-19 infection (including the Delta variant) and improves vaccine effectiveness.

Children who receive the pediatric Pfizer vaccine (10 mcg) for their first dose and who turn 12 years old before getting the second dose may receive the youth/adult Pfizer vaccine (30 mcg). If the second dose given is the pediatric Pfizer vaccine, this is considered valid. A child will be considered fully vaccinated when they receive two doses of the vaccine AND 14 days have passed since the second dose.

As a precautionary measure, children who experience myocarditis/pericarditis after receiving their first dose of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine are recommended to postpone 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.

The following resources may be helpful to answer questions you or your child has about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Between October 28, 2021 and November 7, 2021, Toronto Public Health engaged Stratcom/Point Blank to conduct a survey for parents/guardians of children between the ages of 5 to 11 years to gain a better understanding of:

  • Parents’ intent to vaccinate their children and
  • How/where they would prefer to have their children receive their COVID-19 vaccine

View the survey results.

Resources for youth:

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 Translations
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. Coming soon.
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. Coming soon.
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. Coming soon.
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. Coming soon.