Why should I vaccinate my young child against COVID-19?

On July 14th, Health Canada authorized the use of the Moderna Spikevax COVID-19 vaccine in children 6 months to 5 years of age. For many of you, this comes as a big relief. With many pandemic restrictions lifted and people no longer required to wear masks, parents have been eagerly awaiting the approval of the vaccine for children under 5.

After rigorous review, Health Canada concluded that the benefits of the Moderna Spikevax vaccine for children 6 months to 5 years outweigh the potential risks.  But you may still have questions about vaccinating your little ones. Since most kids are not likely to become severely ill with COVID-19 and many children have already had it, you may be asking “why should I vaccinate my child against COVID-19?”

Immunizer's hands affixing bandage to toddler's arm who looks concerned.

While there are several reasons for getting your child vaccinated for COVID-19, here are three important facts to consider when weighing the risks and benefits.

The vaccine is safe and effective

Health Canada has completed a thorough and independent scientific review of the evidence and has found the Moderna vaccine safe and effective at preventing COVID-19 in children 6 months to 5 years. In terms of effectiveness, the two-dose vaccine was about 51% effective against infection from the Omicron variant in kids 6 months to 23 months of age, and about 37% effective for kids 2-5 years. Although this may seem low, the immune response shown in children was similar to that of adults, suggesting that vaccination will protect our kids against severe disease.

Some children develop serious illness from COVID-19

Although most children do not become seriously ill with COVID-19, this is not the case for all. Some children experience severe disease and require hospitalization. According to a recent COVID-19 epidemiology update, as of July 8th, kids represent around 11% of all COVID cases in Canada. Of these cases, 1 out of 100 will require hospitalization and 1 out of 10 hospitalizations will end up in the ICU. Children who have had COVID-19 are also at risk of developing complications such as Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) or long lasting symptoms that affect their health and well-being (Long COVID). It is important to consider that evidence has shown vaccination helps to protect against these serious conditions.

Vaccination is recommended, even after being infected with COVID-19

Many children have already had COVID-19, which may make you question whether to get them vaccinated.  While infection does provide some protection, vaccination after having COVID-19 is recommended, as it helps improve the immune response and may provide better and longer-lasting protection against the virus. Learn more about vaccination timing for individuals who previously had a COVID-19 infection.

As parents, we want to keep our children safe and healthy. It’s normal and encouraged to ask questions. For more information, talk to your health care provider and check out the frequently asked questions and other great resources on our website. You can also visit COVID-19 Vaccine Consult Service to book a confidential phone appointment with a SickKids Registered Nurse.

Got a parenting question? Connect with us. We would love to hear from you:

For parenting information or to speak with a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply call 311 or 905-825-6000.

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What you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine for 5-11 year olds

With kids age 5-11 years of age now eligible for COVID-19 vaccines in Canada, many parents have questions around having their child vaccinated for COVID-19. You might find the decision to vaccinate your child more difficult than the decision to get yourself vaccinated. As a parent, I know I had questions.

By doing some reading, I found the answers to my questions. Thankfully, there were lots of credible resources available to help me make an informed decision. 

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School-based vaccines and your child

These past 18 months have been a challenge for everyone, including Public Health Units across Ontario. Throughout the pandemic, we have been reminded of how important vaccines are to protect ourselves and our community against serious illness and disease. Halton Region Public Health is encouraging residents to catch up students on missed Hepatitis B, Human Papillomavirus (HPV), and Meningococcal ACYW-135 vaccines, typically given at school in Grade 7, but paused due to the pandemic.

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Posted in Children & Tweens, Keeping Your Child/Tween Safe, Keeping Your Teen Safe, Parenting, Parenting Your Child/Tween, Parenting Your Teen, Teens and Vaccines | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Breastfeeding and COVID-19 vaccination. Is it safe?

As a parent of a new baby, you likely have lots of questions and some extra ones because of the pandemic. We all want to do what’s best for our children to keep them healthy and safe. So you might be asking, “Is it safe to get the COVID-19 vaccine when I am breastfeeding?” The answer is…yes! Leading health experts in Canada agree that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and offer pregnant and breastfeeding individuals protection from severe COVID-19 illness.

Baby looking up at camera while breastfeeding. Mom is looking down at baby.
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Posted in Breastfeeding Your Baby, Breastfeeding Your Child, Feeding Your Baby in the First Year, Parenting, Pregnancy, Prenatal Health, Preparing to Breastfeed, Toddlers & Preschoolers, Toddlers & Preschoolers with Special Needs | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

My pregnancy and decision to get the COVID-19 vaccine

Hmmm COVID-19, where should I even start? It’s been a crazy time of change, challenge, growth and a lot of uncertainty, to say the least! I caught up recently with a good friend who’s in the last few weeks of … Continue reading

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