COVID-19 - Get vaccinated and stay up to date, and find public health advice for residents.

COVID-19 Vaccination in Children and Youth

COVID-19 vaccines are available for eligible children and youth by walk-in or appointment at Public Health clinics. See personalized recommendations by group at getting vaccinated and staying up to date.

Why children and youth should get vaccinated

We know some parents and guardians may feel it's riskier for their child to get the COVID-19 vaccine than it is for them to get infected with COVID-19. The sharing of disinformation on social media platforms has fuelled much of this concern.

It's well established that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and that there are significant risks that can come from a COVID-19 infection. These are important things for parents and guardians to know so they can make an informed decision about vaccinating their child.

COVID-19 can be a very serious illness for people of any age. While some people may experience only mild symptoms from a COVID-19 infection, this is not always the case.

Children and youth who are not vaccinated are at higher risk of needing hospital care from a COVID-19 infection. They are also at risk of other serious conditions that can come after from a COVID-19 infection, such as:

  • Post COVID-19 condition (also known as long COVID)
  • Multisystem inflammatory syndrome

Getting vaccinated and staying up to date provides strong protection against hospital and ICU admission and is the best defence against getting symptoms and spreading COVID-19. Check out the data from the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table and the Center for Disease Control. The vaccine can also help prevent serious complications from COVID-19, including long COVID and multisystem inflammatory syndrome.

Data from the clinical trials of the vaccine, and through millions of children and youth receiving it worldwide, show that it's safe. Recent data from Public Health Ontario also show how safe the vaccine is.

See the frequently asked questions for more information on the risks of COVID-19 infection in children and vaccine safety.

Frequently asked questions

Risks of COVID-19 infection in children

Vaccine safety

Get more information on vaccine safety.

General information

Consent

  • How can a parent or legal guardian give consent for their child?

    Consent for vaccination for children five to 11 years of age needs to be provided by a parent or legal guardian.

    It's preferred that children get their vaccine with a parent or legal guardian present at the clinic.

    If necessary, children can go with an alternative caregiver to get vaccinated. A parent or legal guardian must be available by phone to provide verbal consent and review health history.

    When COVID-19 vaccination clinics are being held at schools, they will take place outside of school hours. This is to ensure that parents or legal guardians can be with their children to provide consent.

    For those 12 and older, COVID-19 vaccines are only provided if informed consent is received from the person to be vaccinated and as long as they have the capacity to make this decision. This means that they understand:

    • What vaccination involves
    • Why it's being recommended
    • The risks and benefits of accepting or refusing to be vaccinated

    COVID-19 vaccination is voluntary for anyone eligible in Ontario. In Ontario, the Health Care Consent Act sets out certain rules on when consent is needed for treatment and how it must be obtained. Parents and guardians are encouraged to discuss vaccination with their child before attending a clinic.

    Even if an individual is able to provide informed consent, we encourage them to talk about their decision with their parent / guardian or health care provider.

    The health care provider and family must respect an individual's decision about vaccination.

    If the individual is incapable of consenting to receiving the vaccine, they would need consent from their substitute decision-maker, such as their parent or legal guardian

  • Is there anything I can read in advance so I can be ready to provide consent at the clinic?

    We encourage you to check out the Ministry of Health page on what to expect when you get a COVID-19 vaccine.

The CARD system

Preparing your child for their vaccine

What to expect at the clinic

  • What will the clinic feel like?

    We strive to make our clinics calm and positive for children and their families by:

    • Offering booked appointments to avoid waiting
    • Allowing more time for each child in order to talk through any questions and get comfortable
    • Additional space so parents and siblings can be together
    • Putting children and youth who may be anxious or nervous at ease by asking them what makes them comfortable and helps them relax
    • Using distractions to keep children busy while they are getting vaccinated, like small, colourful toys or tablets to watch videos
    • While they wait 15 minutes after getting vaccinated, children can get their picture taken in a "I stuck it to COVID" selfie frame, read a book or colour a picture that they'll be given
    • When they leave, children will be offered a piece of peanut-free candy
  • What if someone feels faint at the clinic?

    Faints or near faints can be common among youth immediately after getting a vaccine. Reducing your anxiety can help prevent this.

    You will remain in our recovery area for a minimum of 15 minutes after your vaccine. If you feel faint, it's important not to stand up. Alert our clinic staff to help you.

  • Will children and youth receive a record of their vaccination?

    Yes. Ontario COVID-19 vaccine certificates will be available for children and youth on the COVID-19 vaccination portal as a record of their vaccination.

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