Ages 5 to 11 COVID-19 Immunizations Questions and Answers
How do I get my child immunized for COVID-19?
Where can I get my child vaccinated?
Vaccinations are offered across the province through clinics run by the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), Indigenous Services Canada (ISC), Northern Inter-Tribal Authority (NITHA) and at participating pharmacies.
How do I find out where to get my child vaccinated or book an appointment?
A list of walk-in SHA clinic locations and times is available at SHA Vaccine Clinics.
Online booking for single appointments is available by visiting the SHA Patient Booking System.
Group appointments for siblings or families can be made by calling 1-833-SASKVAX (1-833-727-5829).
Parents can be immunized at the same time as their kids. Flu shots also available at the same appointment in most locations - please confirm in advance of your appointment.
Appointments can also be booked at participating pharmacies.
For more information on vaccines, and to find or book an appointment visit Saskatchewan.ca/covid19-vaccine.
Can my child get the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as the flu shot?
Yes. In most cases the seasonal influenza vaccine will be available at the same clinics offering the vaccine for 5 to11 year old children. However, you may wish to wait 14 days between different types of vaccines so that you know if side effects occur which one it is due to.
Why should my child get the COVID-19 vaccine?
If kids are less likely to get really sick, why does my child need to be vaccinated?
Up until mid-December, 2021, children under the age of 12 accounted for the highest number of new COVID-19 cases in Canada, according to Public Health Agency of Canada statistics. As of Jan. 7, 2022, children under the age of 12 account for approximately 12% of all new cases. Vaccinating your child not only protects them, but the rest of your household, your loved ones and your community by decreasing the risk of transmission, which in turn decreases the number of people who will become ill with COVID-19.
Children are at a lower risk of serious illness compared to adults, but they are still at risk from infection with COVID-19 and may face serious illness, complications and even death, particularly due to the highly contagious variants, such as Omicron. Children infected with COVID-19 can develop other serious health conditions that affect different organs in the body. Early studies also show that children may suffer from long-lasting symptoms (Long COVID) such as tiredness, headache, sore throat, and loss of smell. Studies show that 1% - 4% of children can get Long COVID even after a mild illness.
Also, vaccinating your child may lessen their anxiety about getting COVID-19, allowing them to be more comfortable with everyday activities in their school and community as we transition to Living with COVID-19. Increased protection against COVID-19 infection through immunization can also help protect children’s mental and social health, along with growth and development, by not having to miss school and activities due to COVID-19 infections.
My child already had COVID; should they still get vaccinated?
Yes. Your child should get immunized even if they already had COVID‑19. Studies have shown that the vaccines can create a COVID‑19 immune response stronger than the one naturally present in people who had COVID‑19, as well as providing longer lasting protection.
Is it mandatory to get my child vaccinated? Can schools require vaccination?
Vaccinations are not mandatory in Saskatchewan.
If vaccine clinics are held in schools, will my child be forced to get it?
No. Vaccinations are not mandatory. Any child 12 and younger requires parental consent any vaccination. For children aged five to 11 year old, a parent/guardian or designate must attend the vaccination.
Is the vaccine safe for my child?
Which vaccines are approved for my child?
At this time only the Pfizer vaccine is approved by Health Canada for five year olds. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have both been approved for children aged 6 to 11 years. All approved vaccines are safe and effective.
For more information about how Health Canada approves vaccines, please click here.
I’m worried that the vaccines were developed really fast. Are they safe for children?
mRNA vaccines, such as the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, have been studied in humans since 2013 with no known long-term effects.
Clinical trials indicate that the Pfizer vaccine had no safety concerns noted among children 5 to 11 years of age. Children 5 to 11 years old had very good immune responses when they receive 2 doses as recommended (at least 21 days apart), showing the vaccine was 90.7% effective in preventing infection from COVID-19 at least 7 days after the second dose.
How is the vaccine given to kids different than the one given to adults?
The Pfizer pediatric vaccine is a slightly different formula and a smaller amount of vaccine at only 0.2mls. The dose is based on age only, all children aged 5 to 11, regardless of size/weight, will receive the pediatric dose. The Moderna vaccine for children aged 6 to 11 is the same as the one given to adults, but provided in a smaller dose.
For more information on vaccines, including full ingredient lists, please visit the Government of Saskatchewan vaccines page.
Will the vaccine change my child’s DNA or cause infertility?
No. The vaccines are safe and very effective at preventing serious illness and death. The vaccine will not change DNA or cause infertility.
Will my child experience side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine?
It is possible your child may experience some side effects from receiving any vaccine. The side effects are usually mild and are a sign that the vaccine is working in the body to build protection against COVID-19.
Common side effects are a sore or red arm, tiredness, chills, fever, headache, nausea, and muscle/joint pain. Side effects usually go away after a few days.
What are the serious side effects of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in children?
No new or unexpected serious side effects were seen in the Pfizer vaccine trials for children. Serious side effects, like anaphylaxis (a severe allergy), after immunization are rare – occurring in 0.025% percent of all Pfizer COVID-19 immunizations to people over the age of 12.
Inflammation of the heart (myocarditis) and of the sac around the heart (pericarditis) can happen rarely after COVID-19 vaccines. These conditions are more likely for young males aged 12-29 after their second dose, are usually mild and are treated with rest and anti-inflammatory medicines. There were no instances of myo/pericarditis identified in clinical trials for 5-11 year old children.
These conditions happen far more often after a COVID-19 infection than after immunization.
What are the long-term side effects of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in children?
There is no evidence of any long-term side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine in children. mRNA vaccines, such as the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, have been studied in humans since 2013 with no known long-term effects. Vaccines do not impact fertility or alter your genes (DNA).
Once approved, both provincial and federal health authorities continue to monitor vaccines for safety and effectiveness.
My child has additional medical issues or allergies. Is it safe for them to be vaccinated?
Yes, the COVID‑19 vaccine is safe and recommended for children with chronic or underlying medical conditions.
Children with certain medical conditions – including diabetes, sickle cell disease, cancer, cystic fibrosis, kidney disease and more – may be more likely to get severely ill if they get COVID‑19. Therefore, it's even more important to make sure these children get vaccinated.
There will be specialized clinics for children with additional needs (eg autism, in hospital). Details on these clinics are being finalized to best serve the needs of these children and their families and will be announced in the coming days.
What do I need to know to prepare for my child's vaccination?
Does a parent or guardian need to be at my child's immunization?
A parent or guardian must attend the immunization for their five to 11 year old child, however you can designate an alternate individual to accompany them to the appointment instead. However, the parent/guardian must fill out the Consent Form in advance and identify the designate (bottom section on the first page), who must present the consent form at the immunization (along with the child’s health card) before the vaccine will be administered.
My child is afraid of needles. Is there anything I can do to help?
Parents or guardians are encouraged to attend the clinic or appointment to support their child during vaccination. Children can bring comfort items with them such as stuffed toys. The SHA is focusing on family-friendly clinics and don’t be surprised if you see a therapy dog or Santa at the clinic.
There are lots of good online resources for helping you make your child comfortable with suggestions for distractions or deep breaths and how to talk to your child about immunization. See the Distractions Poster, and the Online Resources section on the webpage that brought you here.
What do I need to know for after my child has been vaccinated?
How can I treat my child’s COVID‑19 vaccine side effects?
If your child feels pain or discomfort where they got their COVID‑19 vaccine, try placing a cool, wet washcloth on the area. Encourage them to exercise or move their arm.
Pain or fever-reducing medications may be given to your child if they are experiencing side effects. Make sure you always give your child the appropriate dose of any medication. Offer plenty of fluids to encourage hydration. Your child may need extra rest for a day or two following vaccination.
It is not recommended that you give your child any pain-relieving medications before they get their COVID‑19 vaccine to prevent side effects.
When is my child considered fully vaccinated?
Two weeks (14 days) after completing the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines for children, your child is considered fully vaccinated. Start counting the day after the final vaccine is administered - for example, if the second dose is administered on Monday the first, you start counting on Tuesday the second, and are fully vaccinated on the fifteenth.
How far apart will the vaccines be for children 5-11? Will children need boosters?
Children 5 to 11 years old had very good immune responses when they receive 2 doses as recommended (at least 21 days apart) with 90.7% vaccine efficacy.
We don’t know yet if children will need a COVID-19 booster. Experts will continue to monitor how long the vaccine is effective and how well it is working against COVID‑19 variants.
How will I get proof of vaccination for my child?
Parents/guardians are able to access their child's immunization record through MySaskHealthRecord. Parents/guardians must have an account themselves, and the child's information can be linked. Parents/guardians with MySaskHealthRecord who have not already made a request for access to a child's immunization record are encouraged to do so. Those 14 and older must have their own account.
Questions from Kids
I’m scared of needles. Will getting the vaccine hurt?
The needle will pinch but only for a few seconds. There are things that you can do to make it hurt less like taking some deep breaths, wiggling your fingers and counting to 10.
Do I have to get vaccinated?
Getting vaccinated keeps you from getting really sick. It will be up to your Mom or Dad or guardian whether you get vaccinated.
Do I need two shots, like adults?
Getting two doses some time apart is the best way to keep you the most safe from getting very sick.
Is the vaccine the same one as adults get?
The Pfizer vaccine is a little bit different because it is made especially for younger children. There is also a smaller amount of the vaccine needed.
Do kids really need the COVID-19 vaccine?
Many kids have had COVID and some have been fine, but some have been very, very sick. A vaccine will help to make sure that you don’t get very sick and reduce the chance of spreading COVID to a friend or loved one.
What if I want to get the vaccine, but my parents/caregivers don’t want me to? Or I do not want the vaccine, but my parent/caregivers want me to get vaccinated?
Talk to your parents or guardian about your feelings. They must give permission for anyone aged 5 to 11 to be vaccinated.
Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe?
The vaccines are safe. They have been tested on many, many children and none of them became very sick from the vaccines. More importantly, the vaccines kept those children from getting very sick from COVID-19. The vaccines had to be approved by Health Canada in order to be used.
Will the vaccine make me feel sick?
Some people do not feel anything after being vaccinated. Your arm may be sore for a few days. Some people feel tired, achy, or have chills for a few days. You will receive some information on things that can help if this happens.