TORONTO –

Why should my child get the COVID-19 vaccine?

On Friday, November 19, 2021, Health Canada authorized the use of the paediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children aged five to 11. Health Canada has one of the most rigorous scientific review systems in the world and only approves a vaccine if it is safe, works, and meets the highest manufacturing and quality standards.

Vaccinating children and youth will provide them with a strong level of protection against COVID-19 and the highly contagious Delta variant, keep schools safe and open, and stop the spread of the virus. This will help protect other family members too, such as those under five years old who can’t get vaccinated yet, or more vulnerable elderly individuals.

Will children aged five to 11 receive the same dosage of the COVID-19 vaccine as other age groups? What is the dose interval for this age group?

No. Children aged five to 11 will receive the paediatric Pfizer vaccine, which is a distinct formulation at a lower dose of one-third the amount given to individuals aged 12 and over, in a two-dose series at a recommended interval of eight weeks.

When and how can parents or caregivers book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment for their children aged five to 11?

As of 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, November 23, 2021, children aged five to 11 across Ontario will be eligible to schedule a paediatric COVID-19 vaccine appointment through the COVID-19 vaccination portal or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900.

Families can also book directly through public health units that use their own booking systems, Indigenous-led vaccination clinics and participating pharmacies.

Some public health units may also be offering walk-in or pop-up vaccination clinics across the province. Please reach out to your public health unit for more information.

Appointments across the province will begin as early as November 25, when federal supply is expected to arrive at vaccine clinics across the province.

Will children be able to get the vaccine from their primary care provider?

Select primary care providers will be administering the paediatric COVID-19 vaccine. Parents and caregivers who are interested in booking their child’s paediatric COVID-19 vaccine appointment with their primary care provider will need to reach out to their primary care provider to confirm whether they are offering the vaccine. Participating primary care providers will use their own appointment booking systems, not the provincial portal.

Will I have to book my second dose appointment for my child?

Individuals who use the COVID-19 vaccination portal can book their child’s second dose appointment after they have received their first dose, at an interval of eight weeks. Individuals whose child receives their vaccine at a pharmacy should discuss with the pharmacy location about how they are booking second doses. Primary care providers will work with parents and caregivers whose children they vaccinate with a paediatric COVID-19 vaccine to book a second dose appointment.

Are there enough doses for every child?

Yes. Ontario is expected to receive 1,076,000 doses of the paediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in the first shipment from the federal government, which will be sufficient supply to provide a first dose to every eligible child.

Will children receive proof that they are vaccinated?

Yes. Vaccine certificates with QR codes will be available for children aged five to 11 on the COVID-19 vaccination portal as a record of their vaccination.

However, at this time there are no requirements for children aged five to 11 to show proof of vaccination in Ontario. There may be different requirements in other jurisdictions.

Will parents or caregivers need to provide consent for their children aged 5 to 11 to get vaccinated?

Parents or substitute decision makers of children aged five to 11 will usually have to provide consent on behalf of their child at the time of the appointment or fill out a paper consent form for their child.

Consent forms will be provided online and in paper at clinics.

What will the vaccination experience be like for my child?

A number of locations offering the COVID-19 vaccine for children aged five to 11 will be customized to ensure a child-friendly environment. This includes providing sensory-friendly clinic options such as reduced noise and reduced bright lights, and setting up clinics to offer privacy like cubicles or family pods so you can be with your child when they receive the vaccine.

In addition, all public health units will offer select clinics at or near schools to facilitate access and provide another safe environment to administer the vaccine to this age group. Clinics will be offered primarily after school hours (e.g. evenings and weekends) to support convenient and welcoming options for children and families.

I have questions about the vaccine for children aged five to 11. Where can I get more information?

Visit Ontario.ca/covidvaccinekids to learn more about COVID-19 vaccines for children and youth.

Fact Sheet: COVID-19 Vaccines for Children and Youth

You can also contact the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre to speak to an experienced agent or health specialist at 1-833-943-3900 (TTY for people who are deaf, hearing-impaired or speech-impaired: 1-866-797-0007), available in more than 300 languages, seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

In addition, you can contact the SickKids COVID-19 Vaccine Consult Service to book a confidential phone appointment with a SickKids paediatric Registered Nurse through www.sickkids.ca/vaccineconsult, or call 1-888-304-6558.