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.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the potential COVID-19 vaccine side effects in children ?
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
What are the COVID-19 immunization recommendations for children?
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. It is recommended that all children aged 6 months and over be vaccinated with either mRNA vaccine approved for this age group. Children who have not yet received any COVID-19 vaccines will receive either 2 or 3 doses for their primary series (Moderna is a 2 dose series and Pfizer is a 3 dose primary series).
An additional dose has now been authorized for children 6 months and over who have been previously vaccinated with a primary series. Children who have completed a primary series may receive a dose of XBB 1.5 this fall if it has been 6 months since the last dose of vaccine or known COVID-19 infection (whichever is later).
While most children may have mild or no symptoms when infected with SARS-CoV-2, some are at higher risk of severe disease and post-COVID-19 condition can occur in children. Individual benefit-risk assessments may favour vaccination based on factors including a child’s health status and local epidemiology.
How long after receiving another vaccine (e.g. flu vaccine) should my child wait before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?
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) for children 6 months and older.
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.
Who can consent in PEI for immunizations?
In PEI, consent to immunizations falls under the Consent to Treatment and Health Care Directives Act [Act]. Under the Act,
All persons (including children) are presumed to have capacity to consent to treatment, including immunizations, until the contrary is shown.
A health practitioner cannot provide an immunization unless the health practitioner is of the opinion the patient with capacity has given consent or, if the patient is incapable with respect to the treatment, another appropriate person has given the required consent.
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:
|Vaccine product||Polyethylene glycol (PEG)||Tromethamine (trometamol or Tris)||Polysorbate 80|
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.
For more information about accessing a PEI COVID-19 immunization record, click here.
What if my child is immunocompromised or has an autoimmune disorder?
It is recommended that children who are moderately to severely immunocompromised and do not have contraindications to the vaccine may be offered a primary series that includes an additional dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.