COVID-19 Vaccines for Children

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NEW: COVID-19 vaccines are now available for all children 6 months of age and older.

Read below for facts about how COVID-19 can affect children, how vaccines can protect them against the virus and how you can get the vaccine for your child. 

How COVID-19 Affects Children

While children have been less affected by COVID-19 compared with adults, children can get sick from COVID-19 and can spread COVID-19 to others. Children with underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness.

  • Cases of COVID-19 among children have increased in the U.S., especially with widespread transmission of the highly infectious Omicron variant.
    • As of June 2022, there have been more than 5 million cases of COVID-19 among children ages 5-11 and 2.5 million cases among children ages 0-4 in the U.S., according to the CDC.
    • According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, currently about 1 in 4 cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. are among those aged 17 years and younger.
  • Though it is very rare, some children who have had COVID-19 may later develop Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), a serious condition associated with COVID-19.

Facts About the COVID-19 Vaccines for Children

  • CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a COVID-19 vaccine to help protect against COVID-19. Children 6 months and older are now able to get either the Pfizer-BioNTech or the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. 
  • Side effects observed in clinical trials were similar to those observed for COVID-19 vaccines for adults, and similar to other routine pediatric vaccines. Most side effects are mild and go away on their own within a few days.
    • Common side effects may be:
      • Tiredness
      • Headache
      • Muscle pain
      • Chills
      • Fever
      • Nausea
      • Redness, pain and swelling on arm of injection.
  • COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines, such as influenza or other routine childhood vaccines, can be administered together. 

Vaccines by Age

6 months – 5 years

Pfizer-BioNTech for ages 6 months – 4 years

  • The Pfizer vaccine for children aged 6 months – 4 years old is given as a three dose primary series, with the first and second doses separated by a minimum of 3 weeks and the second and third doses separated by at least 8 weeks. 
  • Pfizer’s vaccine is 1/10 of the adult dosage.
  • The Pfizer vaccine series was found to effective in clinical trials.

Moderna for ages 6 months - 5 years

  • The Moderna vaccine for ages 6 months – 5 years is a two-dose series, administered 4-8 weeks apart.
    • For those moderately to severely immunocompromised, there are 3 doses, each separated by 4 weeks.
  • Each pediatric dose is 1/4 of the dosage of the Moderna vaccine for people aged 18 years and older.
  • Moderna’s vaccine for younger children were found to be effective in clinical trials.

5 – 11 years

Pfizer-BioNTech

  • The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 -11 is a two-dose series given about three weeks apart. The vaccine dose for children is 1/3 of the vaccine dose used among individuals ages 12+. 
  • The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children ages 5-11 was about 90% effective in preventing COVID-19, and 100% effective at preventing severe disease and death.  
  • The vaccine’s safety was studied in approximately 3,100 children ages 5-11 who received the vaccine and no serious side effects have been detected in the ongoing study, including no cases of myocarditis or pericarditis.

Moderna for ages 6 - 11 years

  • The Moderna vaccine for ages 6 – 11 years is a two-dose series, administered 4-8 weeks apart. The vaccine dose for children is 1/2 of the vaccine dose used among individuals ages 12+.  
    • A third primary dose is also recommended for immunocompromised individuals at least four weeks after their second dose.

12 – 17 years

Pfizer-BioNTech

  • Children ages 12 to 17 years receive the same dose of the Pfizer vaccine as adults ages 18 and over.
  • Pfizer’s clinical trials showed that the vaccine for children ages 12 to 15 years was 100% effective in preventing COVID-19 infection. 16 - and 17-year-olds volunteered with adults in the initial clinical trials, which showed the vaccine to be about 95% effective. 

Moderna

  • Children ages 12 to 17 years receive the same dose of the Moderna vaccine as adults ages 18 and over.
    • A third primary dose is also recommended for immunocompromised individuals at least four weeks after their second dose.

Find more information about COVID-19 vaccines for individuals ages 12+ at www.jeffco.us/covid-vaccine

How to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine for Your Child

There are many ways to get a COVID-19 vaccine for children. COVID-19 vaccines are FREE, and no insurance or ID is required. Because the vaccine dose for children is different than the dose for adults, the vaccine will not be available to children at all COVID-19 vaccine locations at this time.

  • Check with your child’s health care provider to see if they are offering the vaccine. Children ages 6 months to 11 years can get a COVID-19 vaccine at pediatric clinics around the state. Find upcoming clinics for children.
  • Find a list of providers near you that are providing the vaccine.
  • Some retail pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens are taking appointments for children ages 3 to 11. Find an appointment at a pharmacy near you at www.vaccines.gov.
  • JCPH is offering the pediatric vaccines for children ages 6 months to 11 years at our Lakewood clinic location. Pre-registration is strongly recommended. Visit www.jeffco.us/vaccinesignup to find an appointment.
  • CDPHE is partnering with Children’s Hospital Colorado to offer vaccines for children ages 6 months to 11 years old. Adults and children ages 12 and older may also receive COVID-19 vaccines at these clinics on a walk-in basis while supplies last. Visit CDPHE’s website for more information: https://covid19.colorado.gov/kids-vaccines
  • The COVID-19 vaccine is free for everyone. You don’t have to be a U.S. citizen and you don’t need health insurance for your child to get vaccinated.
  • Under Colorado’s Healthy Families and Workplaces Act, parents are entitled to paid time off to take their child to their vaccine appointment and to stay home with their child while they recover from any potential side effects.

Additional Shots and Boosters 

  • For children 5  to 11, additional shots and boosters are only for those who received the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine.
  • Children aged 5 to 17 need three doses of the vaccine for the highest level of protection. Some children may need more than three doses depending on their age and whether or not they are immunocompromised.
  • Children aged 5 to 17 who are moderately or severely immunocompromised should receive an additional primary dose 28 days after their second dose. They should then receive a fourth dose at least three months after the third. 
  • Children aged 12 to 17 who are moderately or severely immunocompromised should receive a fifth dose (second booster) four months after their fourth dose.
  • You can schedule an appointment for your child’s follow-up vaccinations at any provider that has vaccines for their age group.

Additional Resources

Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines for children and teens from these trusted sources.