COVID-19 - As Ontario reopens, learn about public health and workplace safety measures. Learn about the COVID-19 vaccination and service disruptions.

COVID-19 Vaccination in Youth

All COVID-19 vaccination clinics are youth and family-friendly. You can book an appointment or walk-in at a Public Health clinic. Anyone born in 2009 or earlier can get vaccinated.

Ontario expanded vaccine eligibility so that all youth born in 2009 can get vaccinated. For example, youth turning 12 years old before the end of 2021. Ontario reviewed data from Alberta and British Columbia to make this decision. These provinces have been safely giving the Pfizer vaccine to all youth born in 2009 for several months. There have been no risks identified.

Why it's important for youth to get vaccinated

In Niagara, we've had COVID-19 cases in youth - over 2500 cases in those under 20 years of age as of Aug. 18, 2021. This has resulted in classroom closures and whole families needing to isolate. Youth are unable to attend school and caregivers are unable to work.

While most youth with COVID-19 have mild symptoms or none at all, some youth with COVID-19 can get very sick. Some can develop a serious medical condition called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children. Others can experience more serious, longer-lasting symptoms that can affect their health and well-being. In very rare cases, the virus can also cause death.

Youth, like adults, can also spread COVID-19 to other people, even if they have mild symptoms or don't feel sick. By getting vaccinated and following public health measures, youth can protect others.

Vaccinating youth will help to reduce the number of cases of COVID-19. The vaccine is shown in clinical trials to prevent symptomatic illness in youth. The more people who get vaccinated, the better protected we'll will be, and the sooner things will return to normal. More people being vaccinated (and fewer getting sick) means more and more activities will open up and restrictions will begin to lift. This will allow everyone to get to back to in-person schooling and activities they enjoy.

Safety

  • Why was the COVID-19 vaccine only approved for youth 12 to 17 years of age?

    Clinical trials have been completed with youth 12 to 17 years of age. Health Canada has reviewed these studies carefully. They determined the vaccine is safe and effective for this age group.

    In Ontario, all youth born in 2009 can get vaccinated. Ontario reviewed safety and effectiveness data to make this decision and no risks have been identified. The safety and effectiveness of the vaccine for children born after 2009 is under review. Health Canada, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization and the Government of Ontario will continue to review new evidence. They will use the most up-to-date science to update their recommendations.

    Safety and effectiveness of the vaccine in youth will continue to be monitored.

  • If children born after 2009 can't get vaccinated for COVID-19, how can we protect them?

    Vaccines add an extra layer of protection. It's important that all family members who are able to get vaccinated get their vaccine. This is one way to help protect children that are too young to get vaccinated.

    Most vaccines greatly reduce circulation and transmission of disease. But we still need more real-life data about how the COVID-19 vaccines will impact transmission. For now, it's very important that we continue to follow public health measures to keep each other safe.

  • What do I need to know about reports of myocarditis (heart inflammation) and/or pericarditis (inflammation of tissue around the heart) and COVID-19 vaccination?

    Heart inflammation (myocarditis and/or pericarditis) after receiving an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine is rare. These reports are being investigated to determine if they're directly related to mRNA vaccination.

    It's important to know that this condition is rare, usually mild, easily treated, and individuals tend to recover quickly. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization continues to strongly recommend that a complete series with an mRNA vaccine be offered to all eligible individuals 12 years of age and older who do not have contraindications. Based on safety and effectiveness data, Ontario also recommends all youth born in 2009 (for example, turning 12 years old before the end of 2021) get vaccinated.

    When it does happen, it seems to be:

    • More often after the second dose
    • Usually within a week after vaccination
    • More often in youth and young adults under 30 years of age
    • More often in males than females

    If you experience symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or the feeling of a fast, pounding or fluttering heartbeat, seek immediate medical attention.

    Speak to your health care provider if you have questions about getting an mRNA vaccine or if you did experience the symptoms above after receiving your first dose. As a precaution, National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends that individuals who experienced heart inflammation after a first dose of an mRNA vaccine should wait to get their second dose until more information is available.

Consent

  • Can I consent to this vaccine?

    COVID-19 vaccines are only provided if informed consent is received from the person to be vaccinated, including youth, and as long as you have the capacity to make this decision. This means that you understand:

    • What vaccination involves
    • Why it's being recommended
    • The risks and benefits of accepting or refusing to be vaccinated

    Even if you're able to provide informed consent, it would be a good idea to talk about this decision with your parent / guardian or health care provider.

    The health care provider and family must respect a young person's decision about vaccination. Parents and guardians are encouraged to discuss vaccination with their child before attending a clinic. COVID-19 vaccination is voluntary for anyone eligible in Ontario.

    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.

School

Before getting vaccinated

  • What can I do if my child is anxious or nervous about getting a needle?

    The health care provider at the clinic will do their best to help put youth who may be anxious or nervous at ease.

    Here are some ways you can help prepare your child for their COVID-19 vaccine:

  • What if someone feels faint at the clinic?

    Faints or near faints can be common among youth immediately after getting a vaccine. Reducing your anxiety can help prevent this.

    You will remain in our recovery area for a minimum of 15 minutes after your vaccine. If you feel faint, it's important not to stand up. Alert our clinic staff to help you.

  • What if I fainted the last time I got a vaccine or I have a fear of needles?

    If you have fainted, or became dizzy with previous vaccinations or procedures, or if you have a high level of fear about injections, you should still get the vaccine. Tell the health care provider at the clinic so that appropriate supports can be offered. You can also bring a person with you for support such as a family member.

  • Are COVID-19 vaccines mandatory?

    In Ontario, COVID-19 vaccines are voluntary. Anyone eligible is strongly encouraged to get vaccinated.

    Children

    There is no legislation related to the COVID-19 vaccination.

    Existing medical exemption and statement of conscience forms available on the Ministry of Health's website don't apply to COVID-19 vaccines at this time as they are specifically for Ontario's Immunization of School Pupils Act. Parents and guardians shouldn't fill out these exemption forms as it doesn't provide a valid exemption for COVID-19 vaccination for their child.

    Learn about required vaccinations for child care and school.

    We encourage the public to visit Ontario's vaccination website for updates to vaccination requirements.

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