Last updated: November 18, 2022

Book a COVID-19 vaccine for your child 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.

The Pfizer-BioNTech Bivalent booster vaccine is available for youth aged 12 years and older. Everyone ages 5 and over can get the COVID-19 and flu vaccine at the same time. Book an appointment for your child at a City-run clinic or call 1-833-943-3900 (TTY 1-866-797-0007). More vaccination opportunities are also available across the City.

 

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends everyone 5 years of age and older get a fall booster, when eligible, as COVID-19 activity is expected to increase as the weather gets colder and people move indoors.

Vaccination is one of the most effective ways to protect our families, communities and ourselves against COVID-19. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19.

NACI recommends a complete primary series of mRNA monovalent (original) COVID-19 vaccines for anyone who is 6 months of age and older. This is typically a 2 or 3 dose series with an mRNA vaccine. Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is recommended for children 5 years of age and older,

Health Canada has approved messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines for children and youth.

The following are approved for children and youth:

  • Pediatric Moderna Spikevax vaccine (25 micrograms) for children aged 6 months to under 5 years old
  • Pediatric Pfizer-BioNTech  vaccine (3 micrograms) for children aged 6 months to under 5 years old
  • Pediatric Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (10 micrograms) for children aged 5 to 11 years old, includes booster
  • Moderna Spikevax vaccine (50 micrograms) for children aged 6 to 11 years old
  • Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (30 micrograms) for youth aged 12 and older, includes booster
  • Moderna Spikevax vaccine (100 micrograms) for youth aged 12 and older, includes booster (50 micrograms)
  • Pfizer BioNTech bivalent vaccine (30 micrograms) for youth aged 12 and older

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.

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.
  • 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.
  • Even with mild symptoms, children can develop a condition called long COVID where they have symptoms weeks or months after getting COVID-19.

Staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccines is the best way to protect children and the people around them from COVID-19 related illness, hospitalization and death.

Vaccinating children helps:

  • Reduce COVID-19 virus spread in the community.
  • Protect against COVID-19 variants of concern.
  • Protection to friends, family and community members, including 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.

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 a 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, 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

Children and youth may be vaccinated at a local pharmacy. Most pharmacies book appointments ahead of time and some allow walk-ins.

Check with the pharmacy before you go to confirm:

  • If an appointment is needed
  • Vaccine products available
  • Minimum age they will vaccinate a child

Visit the provincial website for more information and locations.

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 TPS by:

Learn more at eligibility for homebound vaccinations.

  • Health Canada has approved COVID-19 vaccines as safe and effective for this age group, they meet quality standards, and the benefits of the vaccines outweigh the risks of COVID-19 infection.
  • For people aged 5-29 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 millions of children in Canada and the USA. In Toronto, over 125,000 children aged 5 to 11 have received at least one dose, and over 160,000 youth aged 12 to 17 have received at least one dose [COVID-19: Vaccine Data]. 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 children and youth, aged 5 -17, it is recommended to get a booster dose at least 168 days (close to 6 months) after completing the primary series, regardless of which vaccine was used.
  • Boosters are safe—they were carefully studied and millions of doses have been given worldwide.
  • Evidence shows the recommended extended intervals may lower the risk of myocarditis with or without pericarditis.

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

COVID-19 vaccines for children 5 years old and over may be given at the same time as, or any time before or after other vaccines (including the flu vaccine). Speak with a health care provider if you have any questions.

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 if it occurs, it gets better on its own within a few days, and there is a greater risk of myocarditis or pericarditis from a COVID-19 infection compared to the COVID-19 vaccine (CDC, September 2021).

The vaccine continues to be safe. The risk of myocarditis or pericarditis in children following vaccination is rare.

More information on myocarditis and pericarditis:

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

It is strongly recommended that everyone (5 years  of age and older) get two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. It is recommended to get a second dose eight weeks after receiving a first dose. An eight week interval allows the immune system to develop a strong and robust response to the second dose, which will last longer. It takes two weeks (14 days) after vaccination for full protection.

Children should receive the same product for all their primary series doses, whether it is Pfizer or Moderna.

Children who are turning:

  • 5 years old before getting their second dose should get their age-appropriate dose at the time of vaccination.
  • 12 years old before getting their second dose may get the youth/adult Pfizer dose (30 micrograms) for their second dose.

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.

Children and youth aged 5 and older are considered up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines when they receive their primary series of a COVID-19 vaccine and their booster dose(s). It is recommended that everyone 5 and older get a fall booster dose  6 months after a last vaccine dose or COVID-19 infection.

Children and youth aged 5 to 17 years old are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose at least 168 days (6 months) after completing their primary series. Pfizer-BioNTech is preferred vaccine for children and youth ages 5 to 17 years old.

The Pfizer-BioNTech (10 mcg) original (monovalent) vaccine is the only product approved as a booster for children 5 to 11 years of age.

The Bivalent Pfizer-BioNTech (30 mcg) is the only bivalent vaccine approved for youth 12 to 17 years of age. Youth are eligible for a bivalent booster 6 months after their last COVID-19 dose or infection. Bivalent means that the vaccine contains two strains of COVID-19 – the original strain and Omicron, and is recommended (in eligible age groups) over monovalent boosters. The bivalent booster gives better protection against the highly contagious Omicron variant.

For youth 12 to 17 years old who are moderately to severely immunocompromised they may be offered the Moderna Spikevax Bivalent vaccine with informed consent. It is recommended to get a bivalent booster at least 3 to 6 months after a COVID-19 infection or previous vaccine dose.

Those who have been infected with COVID-19 and completed a primary vaccine series, are recommended to receive their booster dose at least 3 to 6 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 children and youth 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.