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COVID-19 Vaccines for Youth Age 12-17

Vaccines are safe, effective and the best way to stay protected from COVID-19. They are an important tool to help to stop the spread of the virus and allow students and families to safely return to normal activities.

COVID-19 vaccines do not cause a coronavirus infection. They 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 the symptoms milder if you do get it.

Health Canada has approved the use of COVID-19 vaccines for youth ages 12 to 17. The use of Pfizer is preferred in this age group. 

Health Canada has determined that this vaccine:

  • is safe, effective, and manufactured to the highest quality
  • prepares your immune system to fight against COVID-19
  • shows a strong antibody response for this age group

Both the Pfizer vaccine and Moderna vaccine are approved for youth in this age group with a preferential use of the Pfizer vaccine. Youth aged 12-17 are eligible to receive their primary series as well as their booster doses. Based on the ongoing risk of infection and severe illness due to waning immunity, it is important to stay up to date with your COVID-19 vaccine doses. Visit COVID-19: The Vaccines ( to book your appointment today. Walk-ins will not be accepted.

The use of Pfizer is preferred over the use of Moderna in this age group due to lower reported rates of myocarditis and pericarditis.

Vaccines are safe, effective and the best way to stay protected from COVID-19. They are an important tool to help to stop the spread of the virus and allow students and families to safely return to normal activities.

Tips and tricks to prepare for your vaccine:

  • Try to eat something before vaccination and afterwards.
  • You will receive the vaccine in the upper arm. Wear short sleeves or something easy to pull up so that the upper arm can be reached easily.
  • Use the CARD system and review our other resources included below.

Informed Consent 

Every COVID-19 vaccine requires informed consent. All individuals, can provide informed consent as long as they have the capacity to make the decision. This means the individual must be able to understand the treatment, why it is recommended, and the risks and benefits if they accept or refuse the vaccine. If the individual cannot consent to receiving the vaccine, they require consent from their decision-maker, such as parents or a legal guardian.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What are common side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine?

Vaccine side effects are similar in youth and adults. Most vaccine side effects are mild, lasting 1 to 3 days:

  • Pain/discomfort, redness, itching & swelling where the injection was given
  • headache, fatigue, muscle ache, joint pain
  • fever, chills, nausea or vomiting
  • swelling & tenderness in the armpit / enlarged lymph nodes

Stay at the clinic for at least 15 minutes after vaccination so you can be monitored, and treated, for any reactions. Report other symptoms or symptoms lasting longer than 3 days to your healthcare provider.

Are the long-term effects of the COVID-19 vaccine for children determined? 

Doctors and scientists are confident in the long-term safety of the COVID-19 vaccines for several reasons:

  • Scientists have been studying and working with mRNA vaccines for decades, including for flu, rabies, and cancer treatments. Decades of studying mRNA vaccines have shown no long-term side effects.
  • We are very confident in the track record of Canada’s vaccine approval and safety monitoring system. The safety tests for COVID-19 vaccines are the same as other vaccines that have been approved in Canada over the last several decades.
  • Canada’s system has proven that the information they need to get through the approval process is enough to prove safety, even after many years.

When considering long-term risks, a COVID-19 infection is a much more serious problem. The virus can cause long-term damage to lungs and other organs, as well as many other complications. This is called “post-COVID-19 syndrome”, or “long COVID”, and it’s one of the reasons why doctors recommend getting vaccinated.

How common is myocarditis and/or pericarditis in youth? 

Myocarditis and pericarditis following a COVID-19 vaccine is extremely rare and the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the risk. Most cases of pericarditis and myocarditis after COVID-19 vaccination were mild and the individuals did well with a little treatment. Myocarditis and pericarditis happen way more often after a COVID-19 infection, compared to after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

How do you know that the COVID-19 vaccine won’t impact my child’s fertility?

There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine causes male or female infertility.

Won’t the COVID-19 vaccine put my child at risk for an allergic reaction? 

Serious allergic reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine are very rare. To be safe, everyone who gets vaccinated is monitored for at least 15 minutes in case an allergic reaction occurs. COVID-19 vaccines do not contain eggs, gelatin (pork), gluten, latex, preservatives, antibiotics or aluminum. Those who have a known allergic reaction to one of the ingredients in the Pfizer vaccine or to a previous dose of the vaccine should see an allergist/immunologist before getting vaccinated.