This Version Posted: August 3, 2021

The time is right for youth to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Individuals aged 12 to 17 years are encouraged to get their first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. This will ensure they are fully vaccinated when school resumes in September.

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for use in individuals aged 12 to 17 and the vaccine is available at Health Unit’s clinics.

Youth can get the vaccine the following ways:

What you need to know:

  • Pfizer vaccine will be administered for youth ages 12 to 17 years.
  • Some local pharmacies may also provide youth vaccinations and should be contacted directly to book appointments.
  • As well, primary health care providers may also offer vaccinations to their younger patients and their families.
  • In Ontario, the second dose for vaccines is now given at 28 days after the first dose for anyone 12 years and older.

Additional Resources:

Vaccination Fact and Fiction

MYTH: It is not safe for young people to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

FACT: The COVID-19 vaccine is safe for young people and Health Canada has approved use for people 12 years of age and up. Safety is based on research from scientific trials and they continue to closely monitor the vaccine as more people get it.

MYTH: There are only a few different COVID-19 vaccines.

FACT: There are 4 vaccines approved for use in Canada: Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. Worldwide, there are 102 COVID-19 vaccines in use and another 184 COVID-19 vaccines in progress.

MYTH: The vaccine is going to change or interact with my DNA.

FACT: The vaccine does not change or interact with your DNA. The mRNA vaccines teach your body to know the code for the COVID-19 protein spike, like a recipe that can fight COVID-19 virus. It does not alter or interact with your DNA.

MYTH: There are microchips/metal/magnets in the vaccine.

FACT: There are no metals, magnets, or microchips in the vaccine. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines include mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) which is naturally found in every cell in your body. The specific mRNA found in the vaccine is directed towards creating a protein spike that is like a recipe to help you fight COVID-19. Other ingredients in the vaccine are water, fat, sugar, sodium, and potassium. These are needed to help the mRNA deliver this recipe. Your body creates the protein spike and then no longer needs the recipe, so it breaks it down to get rid of it, leaving only the protein spike needed to fight COVID-19.

MYTH: The COVID-19 vaccine was made too quickly for the science behind it so it can’t be safe.

FACT: The COVID-19 vaccine is very safe. The mRNA type of vaccine was developed in the early 1990s and has had 30 years of research with animal trials. This research was used in the development of the COVID-19 vaccines, like Pfizer and Moderna. They are safe and effective.

MYTH: The government is forcing people to get the vaccine.

FACT: Getting the COVID19 vaccine is completely voluntary. No one is being forced to get it. Vaccination is our best chance to end the pandemic and to get back to enjoying our lives. In the future, there might be things that only fully vaccinated people are allowed to do such as travelling to other countries or attending events with large gatherings of people, like concerts or festivals. Being vaccinated means that you and the people around you will be safer and feel less worried about catching COVID-19.

MYTH: People get sick or get COVID-19 after they get the vaccine.

FACT: The mRNA vaccine is not a live vaccine and does not contain any COVID-19 virus so it cannot give you COVID-19. After you get the vaccine, it can cause a short-lived response as your immune system builds the protein spike or recipe needed to fight COVID-19. Side effects can be feeling tired, headache, sore arm, or not feeling well. The COVID-19 vaccine is over 90% effective against the virus once you have had 2 doses, but that is not 100%. In rare situations, a fully vaccinated person could get sick with COVID-19 and their symptoms might be milder than if they were not vaccinated.

MYTH: I don’t need to be vaccinated because I already had COVID-19.

FACT: It is important to get your COVID-19 vaccine even if you have already had COVID-19. Although you might have some immunity to the virus from having had COVID-19, it is unknown how long that will last or if your antibodies will recognize new COVID-19 variants.

MYTH: I have allergies/a health condition/take medication, so it isn’t safe for me to get the vaccine.

FACT: There are hardly any reasons for someone not to get the vaccine even if they have a health condition and take medications. Sometimes health conditions and medications can make a person at higher risk of complications from COVID-19 so getting the vaccine is even more important for them. Prior to giving you the vaccine, the vaccinator will ask questions to find out more about your health, medications, and allergies. As far as allergies go, the mRNA vaccines do not contain many of the components found in other vaccines that can lead to allergic reactions, such as pork, egg, or gluten. If you have concerns, consult with your family doctor.

MYTH: Kids who get COVID-19 only have mild symptoms, so they do not need to be vaccinated.

FACT: Kids can get sick from COVID-19 and rarely, even be hospitalized. Kids need to be vaccinated because even though they might not get as sick from COVID-19, they can spread it to other people who can get extremely sick. Vaccinating youth helps our whole community. It will be a key step towards ending this pandemic.

MYTH: Only getting 1 shot of the COVID-19 vaccine will be good enough protection for me.

FACT: The mRNA vaccine was designed as a 2-dose set. The first shot teaches your body to make the protein spike which is a recipe your body follows to fight COVID-19. Your body’s immune response to the 1st shot rises, but scientists believe that decreases over time. The 2nd shot reminds your body of that protein spike recipe to give you longer-lasting protection.

MYTH: Once I get the vaccine, I can stop wearing my mask and start hanging out with friends and family again.

FACT: No, not yet. As a population we need enough people to be vaccinated with a full 2 doses before we can relax our current safety measures such as wearing a mask, social distancing, hand sanitizing/cleaning and staying home as much as possible. Once case numbers are low and the percentage of people who are fully vaccinated increases, we will be able to make changes to our current safety measures. In the meantime, encourage your friends and family to get the vaccine.