COVID-19 Vaccines for Children

The COVID-19 vaccine is available for children 6 months and older.

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Here's what parents should know.

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As with other routine vaccinations for children, the COVID-19 vaccine underwent a thorough testing and review process to ensure they are safe for children. Results from ongoing clinical trials that began in March 2021 show that COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are safe and effective. More than 9,000 children ages 6 months to 11 years participated in initial trials, which included volunteers from different races and ethnicities.

COVID vaccines are always free, even if you don't have insurance and regardless of your immigration status.

Temporary side effects for the COVID-19 vaccine for kids 6 months to 11 years were similar to older kids and adults. Your child may temporarily experience a sore arm or headache and be tired or achy for a day or two. COVID-19 vaccines protect your child from serious illness. The risks of serious illness from COVID-19 are far more common and outweigh the very rare, serious side effects from the vaccine or booster.

An extremely rare side effect of the vaccine seen in some studies, but not with young children so far, is myocarditis (heart muscle inflammation). Most cases are mild and people usually recover on their own or need only a little treatment. There were no kids ages 5 to 11 who had myocarditis in the clinical trials. Recent studies show that heart complications are more likely to happen after getting COVID-19 than after a COVID-19 vaccine. Ongoing safety monitoring is ongoing.

The CDC has a smartphone-based tool called v-safe to check in on people’s health after they receive a COVID-19 vaccine. When your child receives their vaccine, you should also receive a v-safe information sheet telling you how to enroll in v-safe. If you enroll, you will receive regular text messages directing you to surveys where you can report any problems or adverse reactions your child has after getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Will my child need to stay home from school? very child is different, but kids may be sore or tired. If you are able to, consider getting your child vaccinated on a day when they can rest.

To strengthen and extend protection against COVID-19, an updated COVID-19 vaccine is now available for children 6 months and older. It offers the most up-to-date protection against the latest Omicron variants. Omicron is currently the most common form of COVID-19. Learn more about the vaccines that are available and when kids should get them.

If your child has already been sick with COVID-19, we hope they're better! Once they're well, they should still get the vaccine. Evidence is emerging that people get better protection by being vaccinated, even if they've had COVID-19. It's possible that the immunity from natural infection decreases over time, especially for those with mild symptoms.

Anyone who is currently sick with COVID-19 should wait until they no longer have symptoms to get the vaccine or updated booster. If If you do not have symptoms, they can get the vaccine or updated booster 5 days after their first positive COVID-19 test. If they were treated with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, they do not need to wait before getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

The arm muscle is preferred for COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5-11. However, the leg can be used as well, if needed. So it’s likely that your child can receive the shot however works best for them.

Kids 5 to 11 will still get two doses 21 days apart, just like for older kids and adults.

Still have questions?
Call 800-232-4636 (TTY 888-232-6348)