COVID-19 vaccines for children 5 to 11

Vaccines for children are safe and effective against COVID-19.

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Last updated: November 25, 2021


Vaccine safety and eligibility

Health Canada has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty mRNA vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. All COVID-19 vaccines for adults and children follow the same review and approval process.

Like all COVID-19 vaccines in Canada, vaccines for children are free, safe and effective. When you get your child vaccinated, you protect them from severe illness from COVID-19 and reduce the spread of infection in your community.

Dosage of the Pfizer mRNA child vaccine

The Pfizer mRNA vaccine for children uses a smaller dosage of the same vaccine used for youth and adults. 

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

If your child turns 12 in 2022, it's your choice to wait and have them vaccinated with the full dosage for youth and adults. 

Eligibility is based on birth date

Eligibility is based on your child's birth date. They must be 5 years of age or older to get vaccinated. 

Eligibility examples

A child's birth date is September 13, 2016. They are eligible now.

A child's birth date is January 2, 2017. They are eligible on January 2, 2022.


Consent is required for every child

Give consent at the vaccine appointment

Consent is required for children ages 5 to 11 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 1 parent, legal guardian or foster parent is required to give consent. You'll be asked to provide consent at the clinic location.

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 always contact your local MCF 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

Register your child for dose 1

Registering your child is easy. It's the same registration system you used to get vaccinated.

Fastest option: Online 

To register online, you must provide:

  • Child's first and last name
  • Child's date of birth 
  • Postal code of child's primary residence
  • Child's Personal Health Number (PHN)
  • An email address that gets checked regularly or a phone number that can receive text messages

Register online It takes 2 minutes

Other registration and booking options

If your child doesn't have a Personal Health Number (PHN), you need to register by phone. A PHN will be created for them.

Call: 1-833-838-2323 | Translators are available

Seven days a week, 7 am to 7 pm (PDT)

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

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.

You can register in-person at all Service BC offices. 

Office hours vary by location. Check before you go. 

Every child can get vaccinated, even if they don't have a PHN or other documentation. 

It doesn't matter if your child is a Canadian citizen or not. All information will be kept private and will never be shared with other agencies or parts of government. 


Book the best appointment for your child

After you register, you'll get invited to book an appointment. Booking online or by phone is easy, convenient and guarantees your vaccination at the clinic. Health authorities are operating child-friendly clinics, with extended hours after school and in the evenings.

You can bring your child to get vaccinated when you get your booster dose. You must both have an appointment.

Clinic options

When you book a vaccination online, you have a choice of clinic.

 

5 to 11 (family) clinic

12+ clinic

All-ages clinic

  • For children ages 5 to 11 and their caregivers
  • For all people ages 12+
  • For all people ages 5+

If you have multiple children, they each need an appointment

You can take more than 1 child to get vaccinated at once. They each need to have their own appointment for the same day and same clinic, but the appointments don't need to be at the same time. You can arrive at the clinic at any of the appointment times you booked, and all family members will be vaccinated at the same time.

For example, if you have 2 children that you would like to get vaccinated after school on December 16:

  • Book 1 appointment for 3:30 pm on December 16
  • Book another appointment at any available time at the same clinic on December 16
  • Take both children to the appointment at 3:30 pm

What you can expect at your child's appointment

Expect to be at the clinic with your child for 30 to 60 minutes in total. 

Arrive prepared

Get your child ready for their appointment:

  • Talk to your child before you arrive about getting the vaccine
  • Bring their ID and booking confirmation
  • They need to wear a short-sleeved shirt and you both need to wear a mask
  • They don't need to fast. Drinking water is encouraged

Getting the shot

We want you and your child to feel comfortable:

  • A nurse or health practitioner will greet you and your child. You can both ask questions
  • During the shot, use distractions like puzzles, videos or talking
  • The shot only takes a few seconds to administer. It will pinch or poke a bit
  • 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. 

 
Common symptoms at the injection site Less common side effects 1 to 2 days after the vaccination
  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Swollen lymph nodes in armpit
  • Headache
  • Fever and chills
  • Muscle or joint soreness

Timing of dose 2

To get the most effective protection against serious cases of COVID-19, your child needs two doses of vaccine. The second dose will be offered 8 weeks or more after the first dose.

You will get an invitation by text, email or phone call to book your child's second dose appointment. Like the first appointment, you'll select a location, date and time. 


Materials for children 

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

Full colour comic

You can read the Vaccine Superhero comic with your child before their appointment.

Colour-in 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.


Children do not need to show proof of vaccination

Children under 12 do not need to show proof of vaccination to:


I need help

Phone the call centre if you have questions about registering your child with the Get Vaccinated system

Call: 1-833-838-2323 | Seven days a week, 7 am to 7 pm (PDT), translators are available

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

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.

If you can't find or remember your child's PHN, the call-centre team can look it up for you. 

Call: 1-833-838-2323 | Seven days a week, 7 am to 7 pm (PDT), translators are available

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

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.

We recommend you talk to your doctor or pharmacist. They can answer questions about the vaccine. 

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.