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Vaccines for children: COVID-19

Information on vaccines approved for children and youth

Health Canada has authorized the following mRNA COVID-19 vaccines for youth aged 12 and older:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine

  • Moderna Spikevax COVID-19 vaccine

People aged 12 to 17 may receive the same 2-dose schedule recommended for adults.

At this time, no COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for use in children under the age of 12 in Canada. Clinical trials are underway to determine if:

  • COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective in infants and children under 12

  • younger children need smaller doses

Learn more about:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine

  • Moderna Spikevax COVID-19 vaccine

How the vaccines are studied and tested for children and youth

The mRNA COVID-19 vaccines were tested in youth through clinical trials that compared the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine to a placebo. They also compared safety and effectiveness across different age groups. These studies:

  • confirm the vaccines are safe for use in youth aged 12 to 17

  • determine what doses are most effective for different age groups

In phase 3 clinical trials, the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines were very effective at preventing COVID-19 with symptoms in youth aged 12 to 17.

Learn more about:

  • COVID-19: How effective the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty vaccine was in protecting trial participants

  • COVID-19: How effective the Moderna Spikevax vaccine was in protecting trial participants

Vaccine manufacturers will continue to collect information about safety from clinical trial participants. Canada’s vaccine safety monitoring system will also help to detect any possible rare side effects that didn’t appear in the clinical trials.

Learn more about:

  • Vaccine development and approval in Canada

  • COVID-19: How vaccines are developed (video)

  • COVID-19 mRNA vaccines

Importance of vaccination

Although children and youth are less likely to get really sick from COVID-19, they can still:

  • get sick from COVID-19

  • be infected and not have any symptoms

  • spread COVID-19 to others

  • experience longer-term effects if they do get infected

Children and youth with certain underlying medical conditions may have a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

COVID-19 vaccines help the body fight off the virus. Once fully vaccinated, people who get infected with COVID-19 will likely have no symptoms or mild symptoms. Like adults, youth are well protected against severe illness 14 days after their second dose. Those who have already had COVID-19 may still get vaccinated to protect themselves from getting it again.

Millions of people aged 12 to 17 have received COVID-19 vaccines in Canada. High rates of vaccination coverage across the country is key to:

  • controlling the spread of the virus

  • protecting people from severe illness

  • ending the crisis phase of the pandemic in Canada

  • helping everyone return to normal activities

Learn more about:

  • Post COVID-19 condition (long-term symptoms)

  • People at high risk of more severe illness or disease outcomes

  • Vaccination coverage by age, sex, and province or territory

  • COVID-19: Effectiveness and benefits of vaccination

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