COVID-19 Vaccines for Children
NEW: Omicron (bivalent) primary series and boosters have been now approved for ages 6 months and older. In addition, individuals 65 years and older are now eligible for a second bivalent booster four months after their previous bivalent booster..
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 the widespread transmission of the highly infectious Omicron variant.
- As of April 2023, there have been more than 6 million cases of COVID-19 among children ages 5-11 and 3.5 million cases among children ages 0-4 in the U.S., according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) [external link].
- According to the American Academy of Pediatrics [external link], currently, about 18% of all cases 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) [external link], 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 [external link] to help protect against COVID-19. Children 6 months and older are now able to get either the Pfizer-BioNTech or the Moderna bivalent 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:
- Muscle pain
- Redness, pain and swelling on arm of injection.
- Common side effects may be:
- 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-BioNTech bivalent COVID-19 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 BioNTech bivalent COVID-19 vaccine for 6 months – 4 years is 1/10 of the adult bivalent dosage.
- The Pfizer vaccine series was found to be effective in clinical trials.
Moderna for ages 6 months - 5 years
- The Moderna bivalent vaccine for ages 6 months – 5 years is a two-dose primary series, administered 4-8 weeks apart.
- Modern’s bivalent vaccine for 6 months – 5 years is 1/5 of the dosage of the Moderna bivalent vaccine for people aged 12 years and older.
- Moderna’s vaccine for younger children was found to be effective in clinical trials
5 – 11 years
- The Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 -11 is a one -dose primary series. The vaccine dose for children is 1/3 of the vaccine dose used among individuals ages 12+.
Moderna for ages 6 - 11 years
- The Moderna vaccine for ages 6 – 11 years is a one-dose series. The vaccine dose for children is 1/2 of the vaccine dose used among individuals ages 12+.
12 – 17 years
- Children ages 12 to 17 years receive the same dose of the Pfizer vaccine as adults ages 18 and over.
- The Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12+ is a one-dose primary series.
- Children ages 12 to 17 years receive the same dose of the Moderna vaccine as adults ages 18 and over.
- The Moderna bivalent COVID-19 vaccine for children 12+ is a one-dose primary dose
- Children ages 12 to 17 are approved for the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine (monovalent) primary series.
- You’ll need to get two doses. The timing of the second dose may depend on your age, medical conditions, and other factors. Use the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) calculator to find out when to schedule your second dose [external link].
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 [external link].
- Find a list of providers near you that are providing the vaccine [external link].
- 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 [external link].
- JCPH is offering pediatric vaccines for children ages 6 months and older at the walk-in COVID-19/Flu vaccine at our Lakewood clinic location.
- 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 [external link].
- 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 children to their vaccine appointment and to stay home with their children while they recover from any potential side effects.
Additional Shots and Boosters
- Omicron (bivalent) primary series and boosters have been approved [external link] for ages 6 months and older. Pfizer and Moderna are approved for children ages 6 months and older.
- Individuals 65 years and older are eligible for one additional bivalent COVID-10 booster at least 4 months after the previous bivalent booster dose.
- You can schedule an appointment for your child’s follow-up vaccinations at any provider that has vaccines for their age group [external link].
Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines for children and teens from these trusted sources.