What to Know about the COVID-19 Vaccine for Children Under 5

How many doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will my child need?

The Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is for children ages 6 months to less than 5 years and is given in three separate doses. Learn more about the Pfizer vaccine here.  The Moderna vaccine is for children 6 months to less than 6 years and is given in two separate doses. Learn more about the Moderna vaccine here. Scientists are still determining if infants and children will require a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Will COVID-19 vaccines be offered as part of my child’s routine vaccination schedule?

It’s possible that the COVID-19 vaccine will be included in the routine vaccine schedule or offered seasonally, similar to the flu shot; however, scientists are still determining if infants and children will require a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. We recommend scheduling your child’s COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.

Will the COVID-19 vaccine be offered at birth?

No. People who are pregnant are encouraged to be vaccinated, which may help protect the baby against COVID-19 and serve as a bridge to infant vaccination. Learn more from the CDC.

Will my child need a COVID-19 booster when they are older?

Like other age groups, it is likely infants and young children will need a COVID-19 booster in the future, but further studies are being conducted to determine whether this is the case.

What kind of side effects will my baby experience from the COVID-19 vaccine?

Side effects in this age group are similar to what has been found in other age groups, including pain at the injection site, fatigue, headache, fever, chills, muscle pain or joint pain. Because infants are unable to express achiness, you should expect your child to seem fussy or tired, and maybe experience a fever after the COVID-19 vaccine, similar to what they experience after other routine vaccines. These types of side effects are the result of your child’s immune system responding to the vaccine and indicate a mounting defense against COVID-19.

How extensively has the COVID-19 vaccine been tested on children 6 months and older?

Both the Moderna and Pfizer clinical trials included thousands of children ages 6 months to 2 years and thousands of children ages 2 to 5. Within each age group, most children received the COVID-19 vaccine, and a smaller number received a placebo. These numbers have been set by the FDA and deemed adequate to establish the safety and effectiveness of these vaccines. Learn more about vaccine testing and approval.

Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I am breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding is not a contraindication to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Babies may also benefit from antibodies or immune cells that may be introduced through breast milk after the mother is vaccinated. Learn more from the CDC.

My child has a food allergy. Can they still receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

Food allergies are not contraindications to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Learn more about the ingredients of the mRNA vaccine.

What is the dosage for children in this age group?

The Pfizer-BioNTech dose is 3 mcg (1/10th of the adult dose), and the Moderna dose is 25 mcg (1/4th of the adult dose). Scientists are seeing a robust immune response in this age group, despite the lower dosage. For example, children ages 6 to 11 in Moderna’s trial had almost double the antibody response than adults in the 16-25-year-old test group, despite receiving half the adult dose.

Should I wait to schedule my 4-year-old’s vaccination until they turn 5?

We recommend scheduling your child’s COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.

Will the vaccine keep my baby from getting COVID-19?

Although these vaccines typically protect well against any infection with the virus that causes COVID-19, their most important feature is consistently strong protection against severe disease, hospitalization and death.

Where can I learn about COVID-19 vaccinations for children older than 5?


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