Providing the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine to students 12+ to protect against COVID-10 is consistent with new national recommendations and endorsement by Health Canada. The COVID-19 vaccine is voluntary.
Immunization options for youth 12+
Effective May 20, 2021:
Starting in June, 2021:
- School-based delivery (delivered by Saskatchewan Health Authority)
School-based delivery details
- Schools will provide information detailing the date and location of their specific clinic.
- If a child is participating in the school-based immunization program they must be at least 12 years of age at the time of the clinic and a signed consent form must accompany them to their appointment on the date of the clinic.
- Children over the age of 13 who demonstrate the ability to understand the information regarding the vaccine can legally consent to receive or refuse immunizations in Saskatchewan by providing mature minor consent to a healthcare provider. It is recommended parents discuss consent for immunization with their children and efforts will be made to obtain parental consent.
- Eligibility is based on age, and not grade. 11 year-olds are not yet eligible and will not be considered in this opportunity.
DOWNLOAD: Parent Letter
DOWNLOAD: Consent form (Note: this form may be used by parents/guardians or by mature minors to grant consent)
DOWNLOAD: Pfizer vaccine – information sheet
DOWNLOAD: Pfizer vaccine – after-care sheet
Frequently Asked Questions:
How does the vaccine protect against COVID-19?
The vaccine prompts our body to make a piece of the virus called a spike protein. The body then makes antibodies to the spike protein. The antibodies help us fight the real virus if it enters our body.
Can I Get COVID-19 from the vaccine?
No. Because the vaccine does not contain the whole live virus, it is impossible to get COVID-19 by receiving it.
What vaccine will I be getting – is it safe for my age?
You will be receiving the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine. It is approved for use and has been proven safe for anyone 12 and older, based on clinical trials and scientific evidence. All of the COVID-19 vaccines in Saskatchewan are safe and approved by Health Canada. All of them are important to help protect the population from severe illness and death from COVID-19.
I'm 11, but I will be turning 12 later this year. Can I get the vaccine now?
No. You must be age 12 at the time you receive your vaccine. It is based on your specific age (not your grade nor the range of the whole year you will turn 12).
Why should I get the vaccine? I heard that people my age don't really get that sick if we catch COVID-19, so what's the point?
There have been a number of young people under 18 in Canada who have become seriously ill from COVID-19. Some have been hospitalized, and even been put on life support machines to help them breathe. Sadly, some have died.
Even if you don't get seriously sick yourself, you could easily spread the virus to people you love – parents, siblings, grandparents, friends, teachers, coaches, or instructors – who may become very sick or possibly die. People who are older are more at risk for serious consequences.
Can teens spread COVID-19 to other people even if they have mild or no symptoms?
Yes. Infected people in all age groups – including teens – can transmit the virus to other people, even if they have mild symptoms or do not feel ill.
The virus is spread from person to person through liquid particles such as aerosols (smaller) and droplets (larger) from the nose or mouth. These are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs, sneezes or speaks. People can catch COVID-19 if they breathe in these droplets from a teenager or anyone infected with the virus.
Are there side effects from the vaccine?
There might be some mild symptoms a day or two after receiving the vaccine. Pain/swelling at the injection site are most common. You might also experience tiredness, mild headaches, muscle aches or nausea. These are similar symptoms as may be experienced with other vaccines. Serious side effects, like an allergic reaction, are rare. If you have a very serious or unexpected reaction you should call 9-1-1 right away.
What if I'm feeling anxious and faint?
The immunizer will do their best to put you at ease. If you are feeling anxious or queasy, try to think of something else and don't watch what's happening (it only takes a few seconds until it's over). It's also a good idea to have a snack and some water ahead of time. If you are planning to attend a drive-thru clinic and are worried about the possibility of fainting, it would be a good idea to have someone drive you.
Do I need just one shot to be fully vaccinated?
The Pfizer vaccine is administered in two doses. It's true that you receive good protection from one dose, but you are much better protected with both doses. To be considered fully vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine, you will need both doses.
When will I get my second dose?
Within four months – likely sooner if more vaccines are available.
When and where can I get my vaccine – only at school?
Those 12+ can be vaccinated as of May 20, 2021 and there are a number of options (ensuring Pfizer is being offered):
- Book an appointment through a pharmacy.
- Telephone 1-833-SASKVAX (1-833-727-5829) to make an appointment.
- Book an appointment online (check for appointments ending in "P" which indicates Pfizer)
- Drive-thru or walk-in clinics (no appointment necessary).
- School vaccinations will begin in June and you don't need an appointment for that. You will find out in advance when immunizers are coming. Some clinics will take place directly at school, others may involve bussing to another school, and some dedicated off-site clinics may also be offered.
Can a parent or support person be with me when I get my vaccine?
To minimize risk of transmission of COVID-19, appointments are generally limited to the person being vaccinated. However, this is something you can ask about when you make an appointment. Some settings may allow family support or family groups to be vaccinated together. Having a support person with you is permitted in drive-thrus and at pharmacies.
If I decide to have kids – will getting the vaccine affect that (fertility)?
There is no scientific evidence that is the case, for either females or males.
If I already had COVID-19, do I still need to get vaccinated for COVID-19?
Yes, it is still recommended as long as you are recovered/no longer infectious. Talk to your immunizer if you have questions.
Do I still need to wear a mask and avoid close contact with others once I have received the vaccine?
Yes. You should take these steps after the first dose, and even after you've received both doses! We are still learning about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide. So it's important to continue to be careful – wear a mask, wash your hands frequently and maintain physical distancing.
So even if I get the vaccine – I still have to take all the same steps for protection? What's the point of vaccination if things aren't going back to normal?
Things are returning to normal – just not right away. We still need to be careful because we are still learning about the protection the COVID-19 vaccines provide. It will take some time to get enough people vaccinated to keep the virus from spreading.
That's why the more people who get vaccinated, the better protected we all will be, and the sooner things will return to normal.
I want to get the vaccine so I can do more things with my friends – but my parents are against it. Can I still get it?
If you are 13 or older and can demonstrate the ability to understand the information about the vaccine, you can legally consent to receive immunizations in Saskatchewan by providing mature minor consent to a healthcare provider. Mature minor consent applies to any vaccine in Saskatchewan – not just COVID-19 vaccines. Talk it over with your parents. If you are age 12, you will require a parent's permission to receive the vaccine.
My parents really want me to get the vaccine, but I don't want to. Can they force me to get it?
If you are 13 or older and can demonstrate the ability to understand the information about the vaccine, you can legally consent to refuse immunizations in Saskatchewan by providing mature minor consent to a healthcare provider. We encourage you to talk over your decision with your parents. If you are hesitant because of concerns about safety, please re-read the information on this page and in your information package. The vaccines are safe, and help protect you from this serious virus. The more people who are vaccinated, the sooner we can resume doing the things we all loved to do – with the people we love doing them with – before the pandemic.
Who do I talk to if I have questions about vaccines for myself or my children?
Talk to your doctor. There's also lots of information on this website, and at other resources including the Saskatchewan Health Authority, Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the US Centers for Disease Control to name a few.
Does getting vaccinated mean we can fully return to school sports, band, clubs and activities?
Yes – not right away, but hopefully soon! The more people who get vaccinated, the better protected we all will be, and the sooner things will return to normal.
It's still important to follow all the rules in the Public Health Orders about gathering sizes, wearing a mask, and maintaining a safe distance from each other to reduce risk.
Many outdoor sports/fitness/athletic activities and team sports outside schools are expected to resume soon.
More people being vaccinated (and fewer getting sick) means more and more activities will open up and restrictions will lift. The more people who get vaccinated means the sooner you can:
- Play baseball, football, soccer and many other sports (or be in the crowd, cheering the competitors on)
- Perform at a dance recital or in a play (with an in-person audience!)
- Sing in a choir or play in a band
- Attend chess club, debate club and a variety of other in-person clubs
- Go to a concert or music festival
- Eat in larger groups in restaurants and cafes
- Shop with more friends and try on clothes in change-rooms
- Hang out with more friends and have fun in person
- Visit with people you care about
- Travel more easily