The COVID-19 vaccine is available to children ages 5 and older. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expanded emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 - 11. The Pfizer vaccine was previously approved for children 12 years and older.
The other two COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use in the U.S. – Moderna and Johnson & Johnson – are only available to anyone 18 years and older.
What You Need to Need to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines for Adolescents:
- The Pfizer vaccine is safe and effective. All three approved vaccines for adults, including the Pfizer vaccine, were effective in helping prevent severe cases of COVID-19. In the expanded clinical trials Pfizer conducted for this age group, no cases of COVID-19 were recorded among the participants that received the vaccine.
- The side effects were similar as reported by adults. For adults, common side effects after COVID-19 vaccine include swelling or redness at the injection site, fever, headache, tiredness, muscle pain, chills and nausea. Some people have no side effects. Learn more about what to expect after your COVID-19 vaccine.
- 12- to 15- year olds will receive the same two-dose vaccine as adults. You need to be available to return to the same location 19-23 days after your first appointment.
- 5- to 11- year olds will receive one-third of the dose as the adult vaccine. The vaccine is given in two shots spaced three weeks apart, just like the adult dose. This lower dose is proven to produce a strong immune response in children while minimizing the side effects.
- Getting a COVID-19 vaccine helps protect you and those around you. COVID-19 has not been as serious to children as it has been to adults. However, children are still able to get the virus and also transmit the virus to others. Getting a vaccine helps protect those around you, including older people or those with chronic medical conditions who may be more likely to get a serious case of COVID-19 if they were to catch it.
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For more information about COVID-19 vaccines or answers to your questions, visit iuhealth.org/vaccine.