COVID-19 Vaccines for Youth
Getting a vaccine
Youth who are turning 12 before the end of 2021 can walk in to many vaccine clinics in Hamilton to receive their first or second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Why should youth get vaccinated?
Youth can get COVID-19 and spread it to others who might be at higher risk of illness, even if they don’t have symptoms. Children and youth typically experience mild symptoms; however, others can get very sick, require hospitalization and experience more serious and longer-lasting symptoms. In very rare cases, the virus can also cause death in children.
Health Canada has approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for those 12 years of age and older. This means that this vaccine:
- is safe, effective and manufactured to the highest quality
- can trigger an adequate immune response to protect youth against COVID-19
COVID-19 vaccines help build up immunity to the virus, so that your body will fight it off more easily. This can reduce the risk of developing COVID-19 or make symptoms milder if you do get it.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is expected to be up to 95% effective after two doses. Vaccines are important in helping to stop the spread of COVID-19.
COVID-19 vaccination is voluntary for anyone eligible in Ontario.
COVID-19 vaccines do not contain eggs, gelatin (pork), gluten, latex, preservatives, antibiotics or aluminum.
Learn more about vaccine safety:
Possible side effects
Like any medication, vaccines can cause mild side effects and reactions that can last a few hours or a couple of days after vaccination. They are also a positive sign that the vaccine is beginning to work. Common side effects may include:
- redness, soreness or swelling on the arm where you got the needle
- muscle and joint pain
- mild fever
If you think you or your child might be having a severe allergic reaction after leaving the vaccination site, call 911.
Frequently asked questions
Should I get the vaccine if I currently have COVID-19/had COVID-19?
If you or your child had COVID-19, you can still get the vaccine. It will help protect you from getting sick again and new COVID-19.
If you are recovering fromCOVID-19, you should wait to get the vaccine until youdon’t haveanysymptomsand are no longer in self-isolation.
If someone 12-17-years-old develops symptoms from the vaccine, will they be able to attend school?
Everyone attending school must still complete the daily screening before attending each day. If someone does not pass the screening, they should follow the directions on the screening tool.
Will a COVID-19 vaccine be required for school entry?
The COVID-19 vaccination is voluntary.
Does a parent need to accompany their child/teen to get their vaccination?
You can choose to accompany your child/teen to get their vaccination but you are not required to attend.
COVID-19 vaccines are only provided if informed consent is received from the individual, including those aged 12 to 17, and as long as they have the capability to make this decision. This means understanding the treatment, why it is being recommended, and the risks and benefits if they accept or refuse to be vaccinated. If the individual is incapable of consenting to receiving the vaccine, they would need consent from their substitute decision-maker, such as their parent or legal guardian.
The health care provider and family must respect a young person’s decision regarding vaccination. Parents and guardians are encouraged to discuss vaccination with their children prior to attending a clinic.
It typically takes a few weeks to build immunity after vaccination. This means that it is possible for a person to become infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.
- Ministry of Health COVID-19 vaccine fact sheet English (PDF, 186 KB) | French (PDF, 100 KB)
Arabic | Chinese (Simplified) | Chinese (Traditional) | Farsi | German | Greek | Gujarati | Hindi | Italian | Korean | Polish | Portuguese | Punjabi | Af-Soomaali (Somali) | Spanish | Tagalog | Tamil | Ukranian | Urdu
- Multilingual vaccine resources
- Tips on supporting children or youth if they have a fear of needles
- Needle fears
- Needle related fainting
- Tips for preparing for COVID-19 vaccine (McMaster Children’s Hospital)
- Reducing pain of vaccination
- Benefits & risks of COVID-19 youth vaccination (Canadian Pediatric Society)
- Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for youth (Ontario Peditricians)
- Ontario’s ethical framework for vaccine distribution
- Parent vaccine Q & A (August 18, 2021 with Ontario physicians)
- Date modified: