The town hall for parents and guardians of kids 5 to 11 is now available to watch online.
Health Canada has authorized the use of COVID-19 vaccine in children five to 11 years old. Appointments are now available for five to 11 year olds at Public Health clinics. Book an appointment.
Read the frequently asked questions below for more information on COVID-19 vaccination in children and youth. New guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization was released on Nov. 19. This page will be updated soon.
In Niagara, we've had many COVID-19 cases in children and youth - over 2,970 cases in those under 20 years of age as of Nov. 4. However, it's largely the younger age groups that have been sick. From Oct. 1 to 21, there were about 100 cases of children sick with COVID-19. This has impacted 54 daycares, early childhood education centres, elementary and secondary schools, and families.
While most children with COVID-19 have mild symptoms or none at all, some children with COVID-19 can get very sick. Some can develop a serious medical condition called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in children. Others can experience more serious, longer-lasting symptoms that can affect their health and well-being. In very rare cases, the virus can also cause death.
Children, like adults, can also spread COVID-19 to other people, even if they have mild symptoms or don't feel sick. By following public health measures and getting vaccinated when eligible, they can protect others.
Vaccinating children will help to reduce the number of cases of COVID-19. The vaccine is shown in clinical trials to prevent symptomatic illness in youth. A recent Public Health Ontario review found two studies that demonstrated vaccine efficacy of 100 per cent for preventing symptoms in children under 18 years old. New research from the Centre for Disease Control found vaccination reduces risk for COVID-19 hospitalization in youth. The more people who get vaccinated, the better protected we'll be, and the sooner things will return to normal.
Don't rely on social media to get your information.
Clinical trials are underway for infants and children under five years of age.
Vaccines add an extra layer of protection. It's important that all family members who are able to get vaccinated get their vaccine. This is one way to help protect children that are too young to get vaccinated.
While being fully vaccinated will make it far less likely that you will get COVID-19 and pass it on to your children, breakthrough infections can happen.
For now, it's very important that we continue to follow public health measures to keep each other safe.
Rare cases of myocarditis and pericarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle and lining) have been reported following vaccination. Both myocarditis and pericarditis are more common after COVID-19 illness (a viral infection) than after vaccination.
It's important to know that this condition is rare, usually mild, easily treated, and individuals tend to recover quickly. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization continues to strongly recommend that a complete series with an mRNA vaccine be offered to all eligible individuals 12 years of age and older who do not have contraindications. Based off safety and effectiveness data, Ontario also recommends:
Most cases have occurred:
If you experience symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or the feeling of a fast, pounding or fluttering heartbeat, seek immediate medical attention.
Speak to your health care provider if you have questions about getting an mRNA vaccine or if you did experience the symptoms above after receiving your first dose.
As a precaution, National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends that individuals who experienced heart inflammation after a first dose of an mRNA vaccine should wait to get their second dose until more information is available.
Consent for vaccination for children 5 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:
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
Learn how you can play your CARDs during your child's vaccination. Help your child choose what CARDs they want to play to reduce the pain, stress and worry about getting a needle.
Although privacy or lying down may not be an option at Public Health clinics, the health care provider at the clinic will do their best to help put your child at ease. You can check our clinic schedule to see if there's a location that offers these accomodations. You can also talk to your health care provider about vaccinating your child.
The health care provider at the clinic will do their best to help put youth who may be anxious or nervous at ease.
Here are some ways you can help prepare your child for their COVID-19 vaccine:
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.
If you have fainted, or became dizzy with previous vaccinations or procedures, or if you have a high level of fear about injections, you should still get the vaccine. Tell the health care provider at the clinic so that appropriate supports can be offered. You can also bring a person with you for support such as a family member.
If your child finds needles painful, you may wish to apply a topical anesthetic before going to the clinic to numb the area. No prescription is needed. Topical anesthetics are available at a pharmacy. Follow the directions on the package to know where and when it should be applied. For example, 30 minutes to one hour before the scheduled appointment.
In Ontario, COVID-19 vaccines are voluntary. Anyone eligible is strongly encouraged to get vaccinated.
There is no legislation related to the COVID-19 vaccination.
Existing medical exemption and statement of conscience forms available on the Ministry of Health's website don't apply to COVID-19 vaccines at this time as they are specifically for Ontario's Immunization of School Pupils Act. Parents and guardians shouldn't fill out these exemption forms as it doesn't provide a valid exemption for COVID-19 vaccination for their child.
Learn about required vaccinations for child care and school.
We encourage the public to visit Ontario's vaccination website for updates to vaccination requirements.
This webpage will be updated when there's more information.
Learn more about school vaccination information.