COVID-19 Vaccines for Children

We are all better protected with vaccines.  

COVID-19 vaccines are clinically proven to be safe, effective, and life saving. The Government of New Brunswick recently expanded vaccination eligibility to children ages 5 to 11 years old based on the Government of Canada’s authorization of Comirnaty (the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine) on Nov. 19, 2021.

COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on the lives of children, affecting their social well-being, education, and mental health. Vaccines are a critical tool for protecting youth in New Brunswick. The virus has a much harder time spreading in vaccinated populations. Getting vaccinated will help keep children in school and participating in the things they enjoy doing, helping us all return to normal.

Following Public Health guidance including wearing masks and physical distancing and becoming fully vaccinated will help slow the spread of COVID-19 in New Brunswick. Remember, if your child is showing symptoms of COVID-19, keep them home and contact your health-care provider or 811.

Having questions about vaccination is normal. The following information is a great starting point for understanding the risks of COVID-19, the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, and potential side effects. Please speak with your family physician or other health-care provider for any other questions you may have.

Get the facts on COVID-19 vaccines for children.

Why should 5-11 year old children get the vaccine?

As of Nov. 5, 2021, children under 12 account for the largest number of new COVID-19 infections (Public Health Agency of Canada). While symptoms among children are often mild, they can develop severe symptoms. In addition, transmission among children is high. This has a significant impact on their socialization, education, and mental health. Vaccinating children is an important way to protect them against COVID-19, to keep them in school, and to allow them to continue participating in activities they love.

Can children transmit COVID-19?

Like adults, children can transmit COVID-19 to others if they are infected, even when they have no symptoms. Getting the COVID-19 vaccine can protect children and those around them, reducing the chance that they transmit the virus to others, including family members and friends who may be more vulnerable to severe illness due to COVID-19 infection.

Is the vaccine effective?

The Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 through 11 years has the same active ingredients as the vaccine given to adults and adolescents. It shows a 90.7 per cent rate of effectiveness. However, children ages 5 through 11 years receive an appropriate dose of the vaccine for their age.

Is the vaccine safe for children?

Health Canada evaluates all drugs and vaccines before they can be sold in Canada. They also monitor real-world evidence while they are on the market. When a company decides to sell a drug or vaccine in Canada, they file a submission with Health Canada. A new drug submission contains detailed scientific information about the drug’s safety, efficacy, and quality.

Health Canada scientific reviewers evaluate data to assess the potential benefits and risks of a drug or vaccine. They also review the information about the product that will be provided to health-care practitioners and consumers. After the review, they may authorize the drug or vaccine for sale in Canada only if the benefits of the product outweigh the potential risks.

Learn more about the drug and vaccine authorizations for COVID-19 on Health Canada’s website.

Are there any side effects from the vaccine?

Children receive 1/3 of the dose given to adults but may have similar side effects to adults who have received the vaccine. This is a normal sign that your body is building immunity to the virus. Some common side effects include soreness, redness, swelling and itchiness where the vaccine was given. Other common reactions may include tiredness, headache, fever, chills, muscle or joint soreness, nausea, and vomiting. These reactions are typically mild and can last a few days. It is not possible for your child to get COVID-19 from the vaccine. There is also no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems.

Having your child vaccinated for COVID-19 can help restore a more normal life. 

COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on the lives of children, affecting their social wellbeing, their education, and their mental health. Getting vaccinated will help keep children in school and participating in the things they enjoy doing, helping us all return to normal.

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