Kids and COVID-19 Vaccines – here’s what we know.
The information provided is what we know as of May 14, 2021.
Which COVID-19 vaccines are approved for children in Canada?
Currently, only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is approved by Health Canada for children 12 years of age and older.
Where will COVID-19 vaccines be given?
We do not currently know where and when COVID-19 vaccines will be given to children in Ontario.
Provincial immunization programs will determine when and where children will receive the vaccinations. There will likely be a phased approach based on priority levels, as we have seen with the current vaccination plan.
Can children less than 12 receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
Health Canada has not approved the vaccine for children younger than 12 years of age. Clinical trials of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in children aged 6 months to 11 years are currently underway.
Is the Pfizer vaccine effective in preventing COVID-19 in children?
The Pfizer vaccine was very effective at preventing COVID-19 in children age 12-15 years old. It prevented 100% of infections in the study.
What are the side effects of the Pfizer vaccine for children?
The side effects experienced by children in the clinical trial were similar to those observed in adults, including:
- Pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site
- Aches and muscle pain
- Fever and chills
- Joint pain
- Swollen lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy)
Are there any risks of allergic reactions?
In the clinical trials, there were no serious allergic reactions reported. When adults are given the vaccine, they are monitored for 15 min after the vaccine to ensure no allergic reaction. A similar process will be in place to watch children after the vaccine.
Is the vaccine safe for kids?
The Pfizer clinic trial followed 2260 children age 12-15 years. 1131 people received the vaccine. It was well tolerated with no serious side effects. This was the case in other studies of people 16-25 years of age. There do not appear to be any added risks for kids.
Do adults and kids respond differently to the vaccines?
Clinical trial data shows that kids and adults have similar immune responses and side effects to the CIVID-19 vaccines.
Will the COVID-19 vaccine be mandatory for kids to participate in school and extracurricular activities?
The Canadian government has said the vaccine will not be mandatory, and children will not be excluded from activities if they are not vaccinated.
Once vaccinated, will children be able to remove masks and play with others again?
The recommendations at the moment say that even those who have received the vaccine should continue to follow public health guidelines, including wearing a mask and maintaining physical distance.
Why should we vaccinate kids if they are not really getting sick with COVID-19?
Most children infected with COVID-19 remain healthy and rarely get very sick or die from the illness. Rarely, some children develop severe COVID-19, develop complications such as Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MISC), or may require hospitalization.
The COVID-19 vaccine prevents severe illness and death. In addition, vaccinating children and adolescents will help reduce the transmission of the virus to adults in their lives.
If my child had COVID-19, should they still get the vaccine?
The current recommendation for adults who had a previous COVID-19 infection is to receive the vaccine, providing further protection against the virus. Having prior infection decreases the risk of getting infected again; it is possible to get infected again. Clinical trials demonstrate the vaccines to be safe in children and adults who have had COVID-19 before.
Dina is a wife, mother of 4, and adrenaline junky. She loves to share children’s health information from her professional and personal experience. More About Dr Dina.