COVID-19 vaccines for children

COVID-19 vaccines for children 6 months to 11 years old are safe and effective at preventing severe illness.

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Last updated: October 25, 2022

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Register your child for dose 1

To book your child's COVID-19 vaccination appointments, they need to be registered with the provincial Get Vaccinated system. This is the same system you use to register for your own vaccinations.

Register now Only register your child once.

You will get a notification from the Get Vaccinated system when it's time to book your child's next appointment.

Add your child to your Health Gateway account

Add your child as a dependent in your Health Gateway account to view and download their:

  • Immunization history (which vaccines they've already received)
  • Immunization forecast (when they're due for their next vaccination)

It's part of your child's routine vaccine schedule

COVID-19 vaccines are an important part of your child's routine vaccination schedule.

Your child can get the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as other childhood vaccines, including the influenza (flu) vaccine.


What to expect at the appointment

Most appointments are available at local clinics. Plan to be at the appointment with your child for 15 to 30 minutes. If you have multiple children, they each need an appointment.

Information about vaccines for children is available to help you prepare for your child's appointment:

Get your child's flu shot at the same appointment

You can book your child's COVID-19 vaccine and a free flu shot at the same appointment. If your child recently had a COVID-19 vaccine dose, don't worry. You'll get another invitation to book their flu shot. 

Public health recommends that everyone gets a flu shot this year, to protect yourself and your children from respiratory illness during the fall and winter months. If your child is 2 years or older, you can choose to get the flu vaccine by nasal spray instead of an injection.

Arrive prepared

Get your child ready for their appointment:

  • Talk to your child about getting the vaccine
  • Bring their booking confirmation and ID like their BC Services Card
  • They need to wear a short-sleeved shirt
  • They don't need to fast. Drinking water is encouraged

Getting the shot

We want you and your child to feel comfortable:

  • When you check in, you can both ask questions
  • During the shot, use distractions like puzzles, videos or talking
  • The shot will pinch or poke a bit, but only takes a few seconds
  • After the shot, wait in an observation area for about 15 minutes

After the vaccine appointment

Just like adults and youth, your child may experience side effects after getting the vaccine. 


Your child's next doses

When it's time for your child's next dose, we'll send another booking invitation by text or email. Like the first appointment, you'll select a location, date and time. You'll get an invitation approximately 56 days after your child's first dose, to get a second dose.

Children 5 and older will be invited to get a booster dose six months after their second dose.


My child already had COVID-19

Young children still need to be vaccinated even if they already had COVID-19. If your child was recently sick, they can get the vaccine 8 weeks after their symptoms started or they tested positive for COVID-19.


Vaccine safety

Health Canada has approved two mRNA vaccines for children: 

  • The Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty vaccine is approved for children 6 months and older
  • The Moderna Spikevax vaccine is approved for children 6 months and older

All COVID-19 vaccines for adults and children follow the same review and approval process. Review clinical information about COVID-19 vaccines for children from Health Canada.

Dosage of mRNA child vaccines

Children need a smaller dose of the vaccine to get the same protection from COVID-19.

Dosage for children ages 5 to 11

The Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines for children ages 5 to 11 use a smaller dosage of the same vaccine used for youth and adults:

If your child turns 12 soon, it's your choice to wait and have them vaccinated with the full dosage for youth and adults.

Dosage for children under 5

The Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines for young children use a smaller dosage of the same vaccine used for youth and adults:

The Pfizer vaccine for young children requires 3 doses to complete the primary series.


Consent is required for every child

Give consent at the vaccine appointment

Consent is required for children to get a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Consent for a child can be provided by a:

  • Parent, legal guardian or foster parent
  • Custodial caregiver like a grandparent or relative

Only one parent, legal guardian or foster parent is required to give consent. You'll be asked to provide consent at the appointment.

I have questions about parental consent

 

Parents that are separated, divorced or not living together

If parents are divorced, separated or have never lived together and they do not agree on vaccinating their child, the parent that wants their child to get vaccinated must:

  1. Be the child's guardian under the Family Law Act
    and
  2. Have the parental responsibility related to giving or refusing consent for medical and health-related treatments

Parents who don't live together may have a written agreement or court order that says whether one or all parents have parental responsibilities. Parents who are unsure may wish to get legal advice about their situation. 

A court order may give guardianship to an adult who is not a parent.

In these circumstances, if that individual also has parental responsibility related to giving or refusing consent to medical and health-related treatments they can provide consent for the vaccine.

Children under temporary orders, interim in care, voluntary agreements or out-of-care orders

The parent or legal guardian, in consultation with their child's social worker, decides if their child should be vaccinated.

There are 2 options for registration:

  • The parent or legal guardian can register their child
  • The child's social worker can register the child, with consent from the parent or legal guardian

Permanent transfer of custody (54.1/54.01)

The care providers are the legal guardian and can provide consent.

Children under a continuing custody order (CCO)

The child’s social worker can provide verbal consent to the foster parent or caregiver.

The foster parent or caregiver can then register the child and take them to the vaccine appointment.


You can contact your local Child & Family Services Office if you have questions.

Taking time off work

Your employer must allow you to take job protected leave to take your child to get vaccinated against COVID-19. You cannot lose your job as a result of taking this leave.

If you need to, you can reschedule an appointment online.


Get a friend or family member to take your child

If you can't take your child to their appointment, you can give authority to another adult to give consent. 

To do this, you must provide a written note containing:

  • Name of parent/legal guardian who is giving their authority to another adult
  • Name of child
  • Child's date of birth
  • Name of adult given authority to consent
  • Signature of parent/legal guardian who is giving their authority to another adult
  • Date note was signed
  • Parent/legal guardian's contact information

Materials for children 

Talking to your child about COVID-19 and getting vaccinated is important. 

Vaccine superhero comic

You can print and colour in this comic with your child before their appointment.

Colour-in crest

Your child can colour their own superhero crest for getting vaccinated.

Posters

Spread the word about getting vaccinated.


I need help

We recommend you talk to your doctor. You can also call HealthLink BC to speak to a nurse. 

Call: 8-1-1 | Seven days a week, 24 hours a day, translators are available

Telephone for the Deaf: Dial 711

Video Relay Services (VRS) provides sign language interpretation free for registered deaf, hard of hearing or speech-impaired people.

Children with moderately to severely compromised immune systems will generally have lower antibody responses from two COVID-19 vaccine doses. A third dose helps create the antibodies they need to protect them from COVID-19.

You will be contacted by the provincial Get Vaccinated system about how and when to book a third dose for your child, about 4 weeks after they receive their second dose. If you believe your child meets the criteria and you haven't been contacted, get in touch with your health care provider.

Dose 3 criteria for children who are moderately to severely immunocompromised

Transplant

  • Your child has had a solid organ transplant (heart, lung, liver, kidney, pancreas or islet cells, bowel or combination)

Cancer

  • In the last year, your child has received systemic treatment for a haematological malignancy, including anti-CD20, or other B-cell depleting therapies
  • In the last two years, your child has had bone marrow, stem cell transplant, CAR-T, or is still taking immunosuppressant medications
  • In the last 6 months, your child has received anti cancer systemic therapy for solid tumours, including but not limited to:
    • Cytotoxic chemotherapy
    • Molecular targeted therapy
    • Immunotherapy
    • Monoclonal antibodies
    • Bone modifying agents used in the setting of metastatic disease
    • High dose steroids (e.g equivalent to >20mg/day for more than 1 month but excluding patients only receiving hormonal or bone modifying therapy in the adjuvant setting)
  • In the last 3 months, your child has received or are receiving radiation therapy for cancer

Children whose immune system is affected by immunosuppression therapies they take

Your child is taking high dose steroids or other medicines known to suppress their immune system. There are many chronic conditions that might require your child to take these medications. The timing of when your child last took the medication is important. Consider the timing (or dates) carefully when reviewing the list.
 

  • Treatments received in the past year:
    • Anti-CD20 or similar agents:
      rituximab, ocrelizumab, ofatumumab, obinutuzumab, ibritumomab, tositumomab
    • B-cell depleting or similar agents:
      epratuzumab, MEDI-551, belimumab, BR3-Fc, AMG-623, atacicept, anti-BR3, alemtuzumab
  • Treatments received in the last 3 months:
    • Biologic agents:
      abatacept, adalimumab, anakinra, benralizumab, brodalumab, canakinumab, certolizumab, dupilumab, etanercept, golimumab, guselkumab, infliximab, interferon products (alpha, beta, and pegylated forms), ixekizumab, mepolizumab, natalizumab, omalizumab, resilizumab, risankizumab, sarilumab, secukinumab, tildrakizumab, tocilizumab, ustekinumab, or vedolizumab
    • Oral immune-suppressing drugs:
      azathioprine, baricitinib, cyclophosphamide, cyclosporine, leflunomide, dimethyl fumerate, everolimus, fingolimod, mycophenolate, siponimod, sirolimus, tacrolimus, tofacitinib, upadacitinib, methotrexate, or teriflunomide
    • Steroids orally or by injection for a period of >14 days:
      dexamethasone, hydrocortisone, methylprednisolone, or prednisone dose equivalents (i.e., persons receiving ≥20 mg per day or ≥2mg/kg daily if bodyweight <10 kg)
    • Immune-suppressing infusions/injections:
      cladribine, cyclophosphamide, glatiramer, methotrexate
    • Intermittent high dose steroids administered as immune suppression prior to intravenous enzyme replacement treatment

Kidney/renal disease

  • Your child is on dialysis (hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis)
  • Your child has stage 5 chronic kidney disease (eGFR <15ml/min)
  • Your child has glomerulonephritis and is receiving steroid treatment

Other immunodeficiencies

  • Your child has a primary immunodeficiency which has been diagnosed by a pediatric immunologist
  • Your child has a prior AIDS defining illness or HIV infection, with:
    • Prior CD4 count ≤ 200/mm3
    • Prior CD4 fraction ≤ 15% 
    • Any detectable plasma viral load in the last year

Phone the call centre if you have questions about getting your child vaccinated.

Call: 1-833-838-2323 Seven days a week, 7 am to 7 pm. Translators are available.

Outside Canada and the USA: 1-604-681-4261

Telephone for the Deaf: Dial 711

Video Relay Services (VRS) sign language interpretation is free for people who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech-impaired.