COVID-19 vaccine information for children ages 5 to 11
Looking for information specific to children ages 6 mos to 4 yrs? Visit our COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 6 mos to 4 yrs page.
Looking for information specific to youth ages 12 to 17? Visit our COVID-19 vaccines for youth ages 12 to 17 page.
Looking for general information on COVID-19 vaccines? Visit our COVID-19 vaccines page.
COVID-19 vaccines are safe and provide good protection against severe illness and hospitalization due to COVID-19.
The Pfizer vaccine is approved for use in children 5 to 11 years of age, and the Moderna vaccine is approved for children 6 to 11 years of age.
These vaccines are specially made for children and are a smaller dose.
Side effects of COVID-19 vaccines are usually mild. Serious side effects are very rare.
It is much safer to get the vaccine than to get COVID-19.
The Pfizer vaccine is the preferred vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. This is because more data is available from the real-world use of this vaccine.
You can register your child to get vaccinated with the Get Vaccinated system.
Why should my child get vaccinated?
- Can get a severe lung infection and heart issues like myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle).
- Are at risk of developing 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. It can happen several weeks after infection and usually requires hospitalization. Most children in Canada who have had this condition have fully recovered with treatment.
- May feel sick for weeks or months after the initial illness. This is called Post-COVID-19 condition or "long COVID".
Vaccinating children can also help protect others, including family members and those most at risk. Vaccination can also make it less likely that children will miss out on important activities, like school, sports, and social events.
Making the vaccine decision
Read what BC Children's Hospital pediatricians say about COVID-19 vaccination and children.
How many vaccine doses does my child need?
Most children aged 5 to 11 should get two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine about 8 weeks apart for their primary (initial) series. Children in this age group who are moderately to severely immunosuppressed should receive a 3-dose primary series. Learn more about who is eligible to receive a third dose.
A booster dose is recommended for everyone 5 years and older at least 6 months after the primary (initial) series. Learn more about booster doses.
Are COVID-19 vaccines safe for children?
Millions of children have safely received the COVID-19 vaccine in Canada and around the world. Ongoing vaccine safety monitoring shows that the vaccine is safe for children and that serious side effects continue to be very rare.
What are the side effects of COVID-19 vaccines?
- 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.
Very rarely people have experienced myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the lining around the heart) following vaccination with a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine.
- The risk of myocarditis or pericarditis following mRNA vaccination is rare. Typically, this condition has been mild to moderate and people have recovered with or without treatment.
- The rate of cases in younger children is much lower than in older children and adults. In the US, this occurred at a rate of about 2.7 cases per 1,000,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine in males 5-11 years of age.
- The risk of myocarditis is much greater following COVID-19 infection than following vaccination.
- Learn more about myocarditis and weighing the risks in this article from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
A severe allergic reaction (called anaphylaxis) can happen after any vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines, but this is rare and happens in about one in a million people. Should this reaction occur, health care providers are prepared to treat it.
The safety of COVID-19 vaccines continues to be monitored.
Learn more about COVID-19 vaccine safety and side effects.
Have a positive vaccination experience
- Find useful tips on how to help reduce pain, anxiety, and stress with childhood vaccinations.
- Use the CARD system - Comfort, Ask, Relax, Distract to help your child find their preferred way to prepare for the vaccine.
COVID-19 vaccines frequently asked questions for children ages 5 to 11.
COVID-19 vaccines frequently asked questions.
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!
Print Jesse's story as a colouring page:
Print and colour your own COVID-19 vaccine hero badge!