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.
  • COVID-19 vaccine and bivalent boosters are approved by Health Canada as safe and effective at protecting against COVID-19 for youth ages 12 and over. 

Getting vaccinated

  • Pfizer is the vaccine that is approved for youth aged 12-17.
  • Individuals aged 12 and over should receive a bivalent booster six months (168 days) after completion of their primary series or last booster dose.
  • Children and youth can come to an HPPH community clinic to receive their COVID-19 vaccine (primary series and/or booster doses). Visit our Get a Vaccination page for locations and times.
  • For information on HPPH COVID-19 vaccine clinics, how to prepare, and what to expect when you arrive at a clinic, see our Preparing for your appointment page.
  • COVID-19 vaccines are also available through some primary care providers and select pharmacies.

For more information on COVID-19 vaccinations for youth:

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, try using the CARD™ (Comfort, Ask, Relax, Distract) System:

  • 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. 

See the COVID-19 Vaccine Information Sheet for information about the vaccines for COVID-19 authorized for use in Canada.