6 Things to Know about COVID-19 Vaccination for Children

Information for parents and caregivers of children ages 5 years and older

Illustration of eight children of different races and genders

Everyone ages 5 years and older should get a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible.

1. COVID-19 vaccination for children is safe.

Before recommending COVID-19 vaccination for children, scientists conducted clinical trials. Then, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determined the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective, and authorized it for emergency use in children.

Ongoing safety monitoring shows that COVID-19 vaccination continues to be safe for children and that the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks.

Learn more about the safety of COVID-19 vaccination for children.

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Tips for Parents and Caregivers:

  • Before vaccination, tell the vaccine provider about any allergies your child may have—just like what you would do when your child receives their routine vaccines.
  • Requesting accommodations at COVID-19 vaccination sites: When making an appointment or arriving for vaccination, you can let staff and/or volunteers know your child might need some accommodations. By law, children are also allowed to have a service animal accompany them. Learn more about COVID-19 Vaccination for Children and Teens with Disabilities.

2. Getting vaccinated can help protect children against COVID-19.

Vaccinating children can: 

  • Prevent children from getting seriously sick if they do get COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccination continues to protect children against severe disease, including hospitalization. There is no way to tell in advance how children will be affected by COVID-19. Children with underlying medical conditions are more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19. However, healthy children without underlying medical conditions can also experience severe illness.
  • Keep children safely in childcare and school and participating in sports, playdates, extracurricular activities, and other group activities.
Five children wearing masks sitting around a table

3. Children may have some side effects after COVID-19 vaccination.

Reported side effects are like those experienced after routine vaccines. Side effects may affect your child’s ability to do daily activities, but they should go away within a few days. Side effects are more common after the second shot. Some children have no side effects.

Learn more about potential side effects in children after COVID-19 vaccination.

Illustration of a child and six different symptoms
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Enroll Your Child in v-safe

After getting your child vaccinated, use v-safe to get health check-ins and share how your child feels after COVID-19 vaccination.

4. A different dosage of the COVID-19 vaccine is given to children.

The COVID-19 vaccine for children has the same active ingredients as the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine given to people ages 12 years and older. However, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for teens and adults cannot be given to children ages 5 through 11 years.

Children receive a smaller dose of COVID-19 vaccine. COVID-19 vaccine dosage is based on age on the day of vaccination, not by patient weight. This is also true for other routinely recommended vaccines, like hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccines.

Learn more about COVID-19 vaccine dosage for children.

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5. Children who have already had COVID-19 should still get vaccinated.

Emerging evidence indicates that people can get added protection by getting vaccinated after they have been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.

If your child tests positive for COVID-19 after getting their first shot, they should wait until their isolation period has ended before getting their second shot. The second dose is recommended at least 3 weeks after the first dose. For children 12 years and older without a weakened immune system, the time between doses 1 and 2 can be up to 8 weeks.

Boy walking down a school hallway

6. Children can safely receive other vaccines the same day they receive their COVID-19 vaccine.

Routine vaccination is an important preventive care service that should not be delayed.

If multiple vaccines are given at a single visit, each injection will be given in a different injection site, according to recommendations by age.

Mother and child talking with doctor
COVID-19 vaccines are accessible and can be found in a variety of locations
  • The federal government is providing COVID-19 vaccines free of charge to everyone living in the United States, regardless of their immigration or health insurance status.
  • Check with your child’s healthcare provider about whether they offer COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Contact your state, territorial, localexternal icon, or tribal health department for more information.
  • Check your local pharmacy’s website to see if vaccination walk-ins or appointments are available for children.
  • Search vaccines.gov, text your ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find locations near you that may be offering vaccines for children.
  • COVID-19 Vaccine Disability Information and Access Line (DIAL)
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    • Call 888-677-1199 Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. (EST) or email DIAL@usaginganddisability.org to help:
      • Find local vaccination locations
      • Make appointments
      • Connect to local services such as accessible transportation
Page last reviewed: April 11, 2022