COVID-19 vaccination for children 5 to 11 years old

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What vaccine will children aged 5 to 11 get? 

Children in BC that are 5 to 11 years of age will be offered a Pfizer-BioNTech (ComirnatyTM) mRNA vaccine  made for children their age. Health Canada approved this vaccine on Nov 19, 2021.
 
The vaccine:
 
  • Is safe and works.
  • Is specially made for children.
  • Was tested in children 5 to 11 years of age.
  • Is a smaller dose than the vaccine for those 12 years of age and older. 

Register your children with the Get Vaccinated system. 

 

Is the vaccine safe? How was it tested and approved for children? 

The Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccine is safe for children 5 to 11 years of age. 
 
There is a very strict process to test and approve vaccines in Canada. Health Canada only approves a vaccine if the data from clinical trials show the vaccine is safe and effective and that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh any risks. 
 
​​The Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccine was tested in children aged 5 to 11 through clinical trials that included more than 3000 children. The clinical trials compared the immune response, safety, and effectiveness of the vaccine to a placebo. In the clinical trials:
 
  • No safety issues were detected.
  • The vaccine provided strong protection against COVID-19 in the couple of months after vaccination.
Since approval, millions of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been given to children aged 5 to 11 around the world, and the safety data shows the vaccine is safe, side effects are common but mild and brief, and that serious problems after vaccination are extremely rare. 
 
The safety of COVID-19 vaccines for children aged 5 to 11 (and all other age groups) will continue to be closely monitored in Canada and around the world. Learn more about how vaccine safety is monitored . 
 

What are the benefits of getting children vaccinated against COVID-19?

Vaccination helps keep children safe and is the best way to protect children from severe illness and hospitalization due to COVID-19.  
 
While most children who get COVID-19 have a minor illness, some can get very sick. Unfortunately, with the Delta and Omicron variants, we are seeing more children getting sick and being hospitalized with COVID-19.
 
Some children may continue to feel sick for weeks or months after the initial illness. This is called Post-COVID-19 condition or “long COVID”. Early studies suggest that "long COVID" is less common in children and young people than adults. 
 
Vaccinating children also helps: 
 
  • Protect family members, including siblings who are too young to get vaccinated and family members who may be at increased risk of getting very sick if infected. 
  • Reduce the spread of the virus in the community. This helps protect people who are most at risk of getting really sick from COVID-19, such as the elderly.
  • Reduce the risk of new variants of concern appearing. We don’t know if there will eventually be a variant of concern that causes more serious illness in children. 
  • Give children an added layer of protection in school or while participating in sports, playdates, and other group activities.
  • Prevent children from having to self-isolate in some cases if exposed to COVID-19. Follow the advice from the BCCDC

Have a positive vaccination experience 

Vaccines can cause some pain, stress, and anxiety for children of all ages. 
 

What are the possible side effects?

Side effects are part of the body's natural response to a vaccine. Some people have no side effects, while others may have some type of side effect.
 
Common vaccine side effects may include:
 
  • Pain, redness, and swelling where the vaccine was given.
  • More general symptoms, such as tiredness, headache, muscle pain, joint pain, chills, and fever. 

Can COVID-19 mRNA vaccines cause myocarditis and pericarditis?

In rare cases, people have experienced myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the lining around the heart) following vaccination with COVID-19 mRNA vaccines. 
 
  • These events have been reported in BC at a rate of about 1.5 per 100,000 doses of mRNA vaccines given.
  • The risk of myocarditis is much greater following COVID-19 infection than following vaccination.
  • The majority of affected people, even if hospitalized, have experienced relatively mild illness, responded well to conservative treatment, and recovered quickly.
Cases of myocarditis and pericarditis following COVID-19 mRNA vaccination occur:
 
  • Most commonly in adolescents and young adults (12 to 30 years of age).
  • Most often after the second dose. 
  • More often in males than females. 
  • More often after the Moderna vaccine than the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. 

Myocarditis and pericarditis following vaccination in children 5 to 11 years of age:

No cases of myocarditis or pericarditis were observed in the Pfizer-BioNTech clinical trial in children 5 to 11 years of age. The trial included more than 3000 children. Since approval, millions of doses of the vaccine have been given to children aged 5 to 11 worldwide. When millions of doses are given, very rare side effects can be detected. 

A CDC report released December 31, 2021 looked at safety data after more than 8 million doses of vaccine were given to children aged 5 to 11 in the United States. According to the report:

  • Cases of myocarditis following vaccination appear to be rare among children 5 to 11 years of age. 
  • There were 11 verified reports of myocarditis after over 8 million vaccine doses were administered. 
  • Of these 11 children, all had recovered or were recovering at the time of the report. 
Symptoms of myocarditis and pericardtis to look out for:
 
  • Chest pain.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Feeling of a rapid or abnormal heart rhythm.
If your child experiences these symptoms, seek medical attention right away. Inform the health care provider that your child received a COVID-19 vaccine recently.
 

Where can I find more information?

 

 

Colouring pages: COVID-19 vaccine superhero

Jesse is going to get a COVID-19 vaccine and is a little nervous. Jesse brought a favourite toy and used belly breathing to feel calm. There was a tiny pinch on the arm and it was over. “That was easy!” Jesse is now a COVID-19 vaccine superhero!

Read Jesse's full story and colour in the pages:

 

Read or print Jesse's story in colour

 

Colour in your own COVID-19 vaccine hero badge like Jesse's

 

Date last reviewed: 
Wednesday, Jan 19, 2022