COVID-19 Vaccines for Children
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) takes vaccine safety and the health and well-being of all Canadians very seriously. NACI thoroughly reviews clinical trial data and scientific evidence for COVID-19 vaccines before deciding whether to recommend vaccination for specific populations.
NACI recommends the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty® COVID-19 vaccine (10 mcg) for children 5 to 11 years of age. Recently, the Moderna Spikevax COVID-19 vaccine (25 mcg) was approved as the first COVID-19 vaccine for children 6 months to 5 years of age.
Vaccinations will be offered at Health PEI COVID-19 Immunization Clinics across the province on dedicated dates and times to support the unique needs of children.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can my child get a COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes, Moderna Spikevax COVID-19 vaccine (25 mcg) is available for children 6 months to 5 years of age, and Moderna Spikevax (50 mcg) is approved for ages 6 to 11 years old. The Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty® COVID-19 vaccine (10 mcg) is available for children 5 to 11 years of age.
Will there be special clinics for children 6 months of age and older?
Yes, to better support young children, the COVID-19 Immunization Clinics across Prince Edward Island are offering dedicated dates and times at each location specifically for children’s COVID-19 vaccinations. Call the Vaccine Booking line at 1-844-975-3303 to book and appointment. Additionally, dates, times and locations of upcoming clinics can be viewed online COVID-19 booking website.
Where can I read more information about the vaccine clinical trials for Moderna Spikevax and Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty® COVID-19 in children?
More information on the vaccine clinical trials in children is included in the NACI statements for Moderna Spikevax COVID-19 vaccine in 6 months to 5 years of age and the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty® COVID-19 vaccine in children 5 to 11 years of age.
Will my child be vaccinated for COVID-19 without my consent?
No. As with all immunizations, the COVID vaccine will not be provided without informed consent.
Are the potential COVID-19 vaccine side effects the same in children as they are in adults?
Generally, yes. Your child may experience side effects after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Similar to what they might experience after receiving other vaccines, the side effects tend to be mild and should go away within a few days:
- redness, swelling, or feeling sore where you had the needle
- feeling tired
- fever or chills
- body aches or sore joints
- swollen lymph nodes
- nausea, vomiting or diarrhea can occur but is very rare
For more information about what to expect after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, click here.
Should I consider getting my child vaccinated for COVID-19?
Yes, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization believe (based on the clinical trials and scientific evidence) that there are many benefits to children who are vaccinated, including:
- Reduced risk of getting COVID-19 - although evidence suggests that children who get COVID-19 experience milder symptoms, some children can become very sick and may need to be hospitalized.
- Prevent or reduce the spread of COVID-19 – both adults and children can spread the COVID-19 virus to others if they are infected, even if they are not experiencing any symptoms. Being vaccinated against COVID-19 helps protect children and others by reducing the chance that they transmit the virus to others if they become infected, including to family members, friends and classmates who may be at greater risk of becoming severely ill from the virus.
- Help prevent other COVID-19 variants from emerging – scientific evidence shows the number of cases of children with COVID-19 is increasing, especially with the presence of the highly contagious Omicron variant. Reducing the COVID-19 virus’ ability to spread by getting vaccinated also reduces the ability for the virus to mutate or change into a new variant that may be even more contagious and cause more severe illness in people who are infected.
- Help protect the community
– with every person who is vaccinated, the more our communities are protected, including our families, friends, neighbours, schools, day cares, and workplaces. Each person infected with COVID-19, including a child, is more likely to spread the virus to others. If this happens, those infected are more likely to spread the virus to others they are in close contact with. This creates the opportunity for community outbreaks and for the virus to mutate or change, creating a new variant.
How does the Moderna Spikevax COVID-19 vaccine approved for children 6 months to 5 years of age differ from the vaccine approved for those 6 to 11 years of age and 12 years of age and older?
The Moderna Spikevax COVID-19 vaccine children for 6 months to 5 years of age contains half of the quantity of the Moderna dose given to for those age 6 to 11, and ¼ of the Moderna dose for those age 12 and over.
How does the COVID-19 vaccine approved for children 5 to 11 years of age differ from the vaccine approved for those 12 years of age and older?
The pediatric Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty® COVID vaccine contains 1/3 of the quantity of the dose for those 12 and older and some of the non-active ingredients in the formulation have changed to increase the stability of the vaccine (10 mcg, using a TRIS/sucrose buffer versus 30 mcg using a saline/sucrose buffer).
How many doses of the vaccine is recommended for children 6 months to 11 years of age? If more than one, how much time between doses is recommended?
It is recommended that children receive two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty®™ COVID-19 vaccine with 8 weeks between the first and second dose to provide increased and longer-lasting protection.
My child is currently 5 years old. Which vaccine should my child receive?
For children 5 years of age, for whom both the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty (10 mcg) and Moderna Spikevax (25 mcg) vaccines are authorized, Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty (10 mcg) is preferred. Children 5 years of age who receive the Moderna Spikevax vaccine (25 mcg) to start their primary series but turn 6 prior to completing their primary series are recommended to receive the Moderna Spikevax (50) mcg vaccine to complete their primary series. If your child receives Moderna Spikevax for their first dose of vaccine, they are recommended to receive Moderna Spikevax for their second dose to complete their primary series with the same vaccine product.
My child is currently 11 years old and will be turning 12 in the coming months, should I wait until they are 12 years old to get them vaccinated for COVID-19?
Children who are currently 11 years old can receive the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine for their first dose and the adult version as their second dose if they turn 12 within the recommended 8-week interval between first and second doses. It is safe to mix the pediatric and adult doses in situations like this, and children will still build a strong immunity response to the virus.
Where can I get a consent form so my child can get vaccinated?
You can download and print a consent form online.
How long after receiving another vaccine (e.g. flu vaccine) should my child wait before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?
For individuals 5 years of age and older, COVID-19 vaccines may be given concurrently with (i.e., same day), or at any time before or after, non-COVID-19 vaccines (including live and non-live vaccines).
At this time the National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends that the Moderna Spikevax (25 mcg) COVID-19 vaccine primary series for children 6 months to 5 years of age should not routinely be given concurrently (i.e., same day) with other vaccines (live or non-live).
How can I prepare my child for getting the vaccine?
A few days before their vaccination, talk to your child about getting vaccinated. Be calm, honest, and don’t lie about what to expect. Talk about why they are getting the vaccine and how it will protect them and the people they spend time with. Talk to them about the procedure itself, what will happen and that the nurse will help take care of them. Public Health Nurses have a lot of experience with vaccinating children and have tips and tricks to make the procedure less scary.
For more information, resources and videos to help you prepare your child for the COVID-19 vaccine, visit: www.aboutkidshealth.ca/COVID-19.
Here are a few things to remember on the day of the appointment:
- Do not attend the appointment if your child is having symptoms of illness; fever, cough, sore throat. You can reschedule your child’s appointment at a COVID-19 Immunization Clinic for a later date when they are feeling better.
- Review the information in the fact sheet for the vaccine prior to your child’s appointment
- Your child should wear a short sleeve shirt
- Your child should wear a mask
If you are attending your child’s vaccination appointment, it is important that you are not experiencing symptoms of illness. You will need to wear a mask during the appointment.
My child is afraid of needles, what can I do to make the experience better for them?
Dr. Jackie Goodwin, Health PEI clinical psychologist, has five key tips for helping parents understand needle fear and how to support their child leading up to and during the vaccination:
It is important to let the Public Health Nurse know that your child has some needle fear. Public Health Nurses have a lot of experience with vaccinating children and can make the experience less scary for children.
For more information, resources and videos to help understand needle fear and supporting your child in getting the COVID-19 vaccine, visit: www.aboutkidshealth.ca/COVID-19.
When is my child considered to be fully immunized?
Children ages 6 months to 11 years of age are considered fully immunized 14 days after receiving (2 doses) of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Is a booster or third dose recommended for children?
Currently, NACI has not recommended a booster or third dose for children 6 months to 11 years of age. NACI continues to review data to determine if a booster doses will be needed.
What if my child is allergic to components of the COVID-19 vaccine?
It is possible that someone may have an allergic reaction after receiving COVID-19 vaccine. Individuals with known allergies to any of the components of the vaccine should not receive it.
Potential non-medicinal ingredients in the vaccines known to cause a reaction ranging from mild skin reactions to anaphylaxis include:
|Potential Allergen included in the vaccine||Other products where the allergen may be found*|
Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty®TM COVID-19
5 years of age and older
|polyethylene glycol (PEG)||*Bowel preparation products for colonoscopy, laxatives, cough syrup, cosmetics, contact lens care solutions, skin care products, and as an additive in some food and drinks|
6 months to 5 years of age
|Tris/Sucrose||Contrast agents, some oral and parenteral medications.|
My child has had COVID-19, should they still get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes, it is recommended that anyone who has a prior COVID-19 infection still receive the vaccine. Although a prior COVID-19 infection may provide some protection from getting sick again, the protection does not last long and is less protective than getting vaccinated .
If your child is recovering from COVID-19, you should delay getting the vaccine for 8 weeks to get the best protection from the vaccine.
What is informed consent?
Informed consent means that you agree to receive the vaccine (or agree for your child to receive the vaccine) and understand the risks of receiving the vaccine and the risks if you or your child do not receive the vaccine. You will be provided information on the vaccine and should ask the nurse any questions you have before your or your child receive the vaccine.
Will my child have access to a COVID-19 immunization record once they are vaccinated?
Yes, all eligible individuals who are vaccinated on Prince Edward Island will have access to their own COVID-19 immunization record.
Parents/guardians can access their child’s record on their behalf:
- online through the COVD-19 Immunization Record portal
- by visiting any Access PEI or PEI Public Library location across PEI
- by visiting the PEI Visitor Information Centre in Borden-Carleton, Charlottetown or Wood Islands
- by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling toll-free 1-844-975-3303
For more information about accessing a PEI COVID-19 immunization record, click here.
Would getting the COVID-19 vaccine protect me if my child gets COVID-19?
Parents/guardians, household family members and others who come into close contact with a child who is infected with COVID-19 can become infected with the virus themselves. Being vaccinated for COVID-19 significantly reduces your risk of becoming infected with the virus and experiencing severe illness from the virus should you become infected.
What if my child is immunocompromised or has an autoimmune disorder?
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends that eligible individuals, including children 5 to 11 years of age, who are immunocompromised or who have an autoimmune disorder be offered the COVID-19 vaccine as long as informed consent is given. Informed consent should include information about the lack of data on the use of the COVID-19 vaccines in these populations.
You may choose for your child to be vaccinated, particularly if they are at increased risk for COVID-19 infection or severe disease.
Individuals should be aware of the absence of evidence on the use of COVID-19 vaccines in these individuals and be able to provide informed consent.
For those children who are moderately to severely immunocompromised 5 years of age and older who have previously received 2-doses of COVID-19 vaccine an additional dose of an authorized mRNA COVID-19 vaccine should be offered; this applies to individuals with the following conditions:
- active treatment for solid tumour or hematologic malignancies
- receipt of solid-organ transplant and taking immunosuppressive therapy
- receipt of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T-cell therapy or hematopoietic stem cell transplant (within 2 years of transplantation or taking immunosuppression therapy)
- moderate to severe primary immunodeficiency (e.g., DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
- Stage 3 or advanced untreated HIV infection and those with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
- active treatment with the following categories of immunosuppressive therapies: anti-B cell therapies (monoclonal antibodies targeting CD19, CD20 and CD22), high-dose systemic corticosteroids (e.g. 20 mg/day for ≥ 14 days), alkylating agents, antimetabolites, or tumor-necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors and other biologic agents that are significantly immunosuppressive.