COVID-19 vaccine information for youth ages 12 to 17
Looking for general information on COVID-19 vaccines? Visit our COVID-19 vaccines general information page.
COVID-19 vaccines provide good protection against severe illness and hospitalization due to COVID-19.
COVID-19 vaccines are safe. Side effects of COVID-19 vaccines are usually mild. Serious side effects are very rare.
Two mRNA vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna, are approved for youth 12 years of age and older.
It is much safer to get vaccinated than to get COVID-19.
Why should youth get vaccinated?
- May feel sick for weeks or months after the initial illness. This is called Post-COVID-19 condition or "long COVID".
Can develop a serious but rare condition called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). MIS-C is caused by an exaggerated immune response, leading to severe widespread inflammation, and can happen several weeks after infection.
Are COVID-19 vaccines safe for youth?
The Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines are safe for youth. These vaccines were studied in youth in clinical trials and were shown to be safe and effective. Since approval, millions of doses of vaccine have been safely given to youth worldwide. Ongoing vaccine safety monitoring continues to show that the vaccines are safe and that they are effective at preventing severe illness for this age group.
- Pain, redness, swelling and itchiness where the vaccine was given.
- More general symptoms, such as tiredness, headache, fever, chills, muscle or joint soreness, swollen lymph nodes under the armpit, nausea and vomiting.
In very rare cases, myocarditis (inflammation of the heart) and pericarditis (inflammation of heart's outer lining) can occur. Most people recover quickly. The risk of heart complications, including myocarditis, is much greater after COVID-19 infection than after vaccination.
Learn more about COVID-19 vaccine safety for youth in the handout below from the BCCDC.
How many vaccine doses do youth need?
- Youth aged 12 to 17 need two doses of an mRNA vaccine.
- Three doses are recommended for some youth who are moderately to severely immunosuppressed. Learn who is eligible to receive a third dose.
Youth aged 12 to 17 are also eligible for a booster dose at least six months after their initial series. It is extra important to get a booster dose if you have a weakened immune system because of a medical condition or treatment. Learn about booster doses for youth ages 12 to 17.
Have a positive vaccination experience
- Find useful tips on how to help to reduce pain, stress, anxiety with vaccinations.
- Use the CARD system - Comfort, Ask, Relax, Distract.