Youth 12-17

COVID-19 in children and youth

  • Children who get sick with COVID-19 typically have mild symptoms. However, some children can get very sick and need to go to the hospital.
  • Others may experience more serious, longer-lasting symptoms that can affect their health and well-being.
  • Like adults, children can transmit the virus to others if they are infected, even if they don’t feel sick.
  • Vaccinating youth protects them from getting sick and reduces virus spread within their household and the community.
  • The Pfizer vaccine is approved by Health Canada as safe and effective for youth ages 12 and over. The Pfizer vaccine has demonstrated to be highly effective at protecting against COVID-19 for individuals 12 and over.

Getting vaccinated

Pfizer is the vaccine that is approved for youth aged 12-17.

Youth turning 12 in 2021, and older, can come to an HPPH community clinic (walk-in, some accept appointments) or go to a participating pharmacy. Visit our Get a Vaccination page for locations and times. If you’re coming to an HPPH clinic, you can fill out our Client Information Sheet [PDF] in advance, or when you arrive. Find out what to expect at one of our COVID-19 Vaccination clinics.

Visit the Ontario government's COVID-19 vaccines for youth webpage to learn about COVID-19 vaccines for youth ages 12-17 and find information on Ontario’s youth vaccination program.

Video:  Dr. Hayward | Why youth should get vaccinated against COVID-19

Video: Dr. Hayward | Approval of vaccines for youth

Tips for relaxing before and during your vaccine appointment

Being nervous about needles is common. If you are anxious about receiving a needle, or if you’ve fainted or become dizzy with immunizations before, please let your vaccinator know. We want you to feel comfortable and safe.

To prepare for your vaccine appointment, use the CARD™ (Comfort, Ask, Relax, Distract) System [PDF]:

  • Comfort
  • Ask
    • Talk to someone you trust about the covid-19 vaccine and about tips for relaxing at your vaccine appointment.
    • If you have questions at your vaccine appointment, ask the vaccinator and they can explain the process.
  • Relax
    • Take some deep belly breaths – this can help your body to relax.
    • Bring your headphones to listen to some music or an upbeat podcast.
  • Distract
    • Look at your phone or bring a book to read. Ask your vaccinator about their day.

Worried about fainting or becoming dizzy during your appointment? Learn about needle-related fainting and how muscle tension can help: Needle Related Fainting [PDF].

Informed consent

Anyone getting the COVID-19 vaccine, including youth ages 12 to 17, must provide informed consent. Informed consent means that you understand:

  • what the vaccine involves (for example, how it is given and what possible side effects there may be)
  • why it is recommended
  • the risks and benefits of getting or not getting it

If someone is unable to provide informed consent to receive the vaccine (for example, for medical reasons), they will need consent from someone who can make a decision on their behalf, such as a parent or legal guardian. We encourage parents and guardians to discuss vaccination with their children prior to attending a clinic. 


Health Canada recently released a statement after reviewing international reports of rare cases of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the sac in which the heart sits inside of the chest) following vaccination with COVID-19 mRNA vaccines.

Cases have been mild, happening more commonly after the second dose of vaccine, and more often in male adolescents and young adults. Symptoms have been reported to start a few days after vaccination.

The association of myocarditis and pericarditis with mRNA vaccination and a mechanism for inflammation remain under investigation. The WHO and PHAC continue to recommend that COVID be offerred as the benefits outweigh the risks. This situation is being monitored closely in Canada and internationally. mRNA COVID-19 vaccines continue to be recommended in Canada and other countries where mRNA vaccines are being used.

The benefits of COVID-19 vaccines continue to outweigh their potential risks, as evidence shows that they reduce severe illness, hospitalization, and death due to COVID-19. Individuals 12 and older are encouraged to get vaccinated, and to complete their vaccine series as soon as they are eligible.

Video: Dr. Hayward | Myocarditis/Pericarditis after COVID-19 vaccine