What you need to know about booking a COVID-19 vaccine for your child in Ontario
TORONTO -- Ontario families can now book COVID-19 vaccine appointments for children between the ages of five and 11.
Officials said on Monday that about one million children will now become eligible to get their shot. The doses are significantly smaller than the ones given to adults; however, kids will still need to go through a two-dose process to be considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Here's what you need to know about booking a COVID-19 vaccine for your child:
Who is eligible?
Children aged five or who are turning five years old by the end of 2021 are now eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
When and where can you book an appointment?
Appointments can be booked as of 8 a.m. on Nov. 23 through the provincial COVID-19 vaccine portal or through their local public health units. For those who don't want to book online, they can call the Provincial Vaccine Contract Centre at 1-833-943-3900 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
If you are hearing impaired or speech impaired, please call 1-866-797-0007.
Parents can also book appointments through select primary caregivers as well as pharmacies. A list of pharmacies providing the COVID-19 vaccine can be found here.
Toronto Public Health has opened 20,000 additional COVID-19 appointments at five city-run clinics located at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Woodbine Mall, Scarborough Town Centre, Cloverdale Mall and Mitchell Field Arena.
Vaccines will also soon be available at select school clinics.
What does my child need to bring to their appointment?
Families should bring their booking confirmation code or email, an Ontario health card, and their immunization record if available.
If a child has an allergy to the Pfizer vaccine or any of its ingredients, or if they have had a reaction to a previous vaccination, they should bring an allergy form.
Families must wear a mask while getting the vaccine.
What happens if my child does not have a health card?
Individuals without an Ontario health card can still get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Parents or caregivers should speak with their child's school, medical provider or faith leader about providing a letter confirming their name, date of birth and address. Individuals must also call their local public health unit to get a COVID ID, a unique number that can be used to book an appointment.
Families can book through the provincial vaccine contact centre. CTV News Toronto has asked the Ministry of Health for clarification on whether parents have to use the call centre if they are able to get a COVID ID.
What happens if my child is not up to date with their other vaccinations?
Children do not need to be up-to-date on other vaccinations before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine; however, officials recommend waiting 14 days before or after a child gets another vaccine before getting the shot.
Families are encouraged to speak with their health-care provider if they have questions.
Do parents need to give permission for their child to get the vaccine?
Officials say parental or consent is "usually" necessary before or at the time of the appointment. Consent forms will be provided online and in paper at clinics.
However, the Ontario website also says that children and youth must also provide informed consent.
Informed consent requires that an individual understand what the vaccine involves, why it is recommended, as well as the risks and benefits of getting or not getting it.
CTV News Toronto has asked the ministry of health what informed consent looks like for a young child and what would happen if a child does not provide informed consent or has differing opinions than their parent.
What happens after they get the shot?
After adults and youth received their COVID-19 vaccination they were asked to wait around for 10 to 15 minutes in order to be monitored for any reaction to the shot. Children will likely have to remain in the area for a similar time frame.
When does my child need to get their second dose?
Children will become eligible for their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine eight weeks after they receive their first shot. If a child is 11 years old when they get their first dose, but turn 12 before the eight-week time frame, officials say that they will receive an adult dose as their second shot.
Adult doses are available for anyone aged 12 and up.
Will children receive proof that they are vaccinated?
Vaccine certificates with QR codes will be available for children between the ages of 5 and 1 through the provincial portal, however, there is no requirement in Ontario for children to show proof of vaccination at this time.
What if I have more questions?
If families have more questions about the vaccine, they can call the vaccine centre or speak with their primary caregiver.
Families can also reach out to the SickKids COVID-19 Vaccine Consult Service to book a confidential phone appointment with a paediatric registered nurse through their website or call 1-888-304-6558.