Youth & COVID-19 vaccines
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for youth 12-17 years of age, and this is an exciting step for fighting the pandemic. If you qualify and have questions about getting your vaccine, or if you’re a parent with questions for your child, then you’re in the right place! This page covers what you need to know about getting the COVID-19 vaccine and a few of the most common questions we’ve received from kids about the COVID-19 vaccines.
How do I get the vaccine?
Go to the Government of BC website to find out how to register and who you can get vaccinated with. You can get vaccinated by yourself, with your parents or with a trusted adult. Click here to find out more information about how to register.
What can I expect at the clinic?
Knowing what to expect at the clinic can help you feel more prepared to get a vaccine.
- The BCCDC's Getting a vaccine page let you know what happens at the clinic, when you get the vaccine and what to do after.
- Are you nervous about getting needles? Check out the CARD system to have a more positive vaccination experience. Make sure you tell your health care provider if you are nervous or have ever fainted after having a vaccine.
- Remember it's okay to ask questions. Your health care provider wants answer your questions and for you to feel comfortable.
- If you are a parent and reading this, you can check out our page on how to prepare your child for a positive vaccination experience.
Do I need my parent’s permission to get the vaccine?
KBI Kid’s Questions on COVID-19 vaccines
- What are in the vaccines?
The purpose of a vaccine is to introduce your body to a virus before it meets the virus in real life. Because the virus is dangerous (we only make vaccines against dangerous germs) it is important to have protection (called antibodies) on board and ready to fight. Therefore, a vaccine is made by taking either pieces of a virus, or a weak version of a virus and placing it into a solution that can be injected into a muscle or fat tissue. The solution is made from different chemicals needed to make sure the vaccine is sterile and stable. There are many vaccines - most countries have approved over 50 vaccines!
- What are the side effects of COVID-19 vaccines?
The most common side effects are soreness, redness, swelling and itchiness where the vaccine was given. Other reactions may include tiredness, headache, fever, chills, muscle or joint soreness, swollen lymph nodes under the armpit, nausea and vomiting. These reactions are mild and generally last 1 to 2 days.
- What is the difference between the COVID-19 vaccines?
The two mRNA vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer) are very similar in that they contain the genetic code which is placed in a lipid nanoparticle as a way to deliver the genetic information. The AstraZeneca vaccine uses another virus (Adenovirus) as a vector or delivery method.
- Has there been enough testing for the vaccine?
Yes. Before any vaccine is released for use in Canada it must show that the vaccine works and is safe. This has to be seen in both the clinical trials as well as during the real life use of the vaccine once a vaccine is released into the general population.
- Why are some people unsure about vaccines?
There are many reasons for this, but we’ll focus on the one that you can help fix. It is very easy for all of us (including adults) to believe things that aren’t true. It just takes a few people to spread a rumour to make people feel worried. This is why it’s important to check your sources, and to make sure you get your information from reliable sources!
- What happens if the vaccines don't match the variants?
If there is no longer a good match between the virus and the vaccines, the vaccines will work less effectively.
- How long will the pandemic last?
Scientists think that we need at least 70%-80% of the entire population to be immune to the virus before we can stop further spread. At this point we don’t know how quickly we can immunize the world’s population before any more changes or mutations occur in the virus which could make it more contagious or make our vaccines less effective. We also don’t know how long immunity lasts either from having the disease, or from getting the vaccine. Until we know all of this information, we won’t be able to make predictions about the future of COVID-19.
- What if I am afraid of needles?
Feeling a little worried or anxious when going to get a vaccine is normal, and people of all ages feel the same way. Some people might just feel a little nervous, and others might need to lie down for their vaccination so they feel comfortable. It is different for everyone, but luckily there are plenty of steps you can take to have a calm and more positive experience.
- Be prepared. Knowing what the vaccination process will be like can help reduce stress or worry too. Visit this BCCDC page to learn about what to do and what to expect before, during and after the appointment.
- Tell your health care provider. Let your immunizer know if you’re anxious about getting your vaccine or if you have ever fainted after getting a vaccine. They have dealt with anxiety plenty of times before, and they will be happy to talk to you and keep your mind off of the shot.
- Deep Breathe. Take deep, slow breaths. Breathe in so your belly expands, then breathe out slowly. This helps keep you calm.
- Distract yourself. Listen to music, watch videos, read, or talk to someone else with you to distract yourself.
If you are nervous about getting needles, you can use the CARD system! Click here to learn more about the CARD system.
Thoughts from people in BC
When asked by a HCW at the immunization clinic how his first dose went, my 13yo responded with “Epic. Absolutely poggers experience.”
— Lydia Elder (@lydiaelder) May 26, 2021
(ImmunizeBC does not endorse the account featured above.)