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What do scientists say about vaccinating children against COVID-19?

*This article was updated on April 16, 2024

For the best protection, CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccines for everyone 6 months and older.

6 Things to Know about COVID-19 Vaccination for Children

1. COVID-19 vaccination for children is safe.

Ongoing safety monitoring after the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval shows that COVID-19 vaccination continues to be safe for children. While adverse reactions are rare, the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the known risks of COVID-19 and possible severe complications.

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

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 with disabilities are also allowed to have a service animal accompany them. Learn more about COVID-19 Vaccination for Children and Teens with Disabilities.

COVID-19 Vaccine Information for Children with Disabilities

Smiling boy holding his dog

2. Getting vaccinated helps 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 and hospitalization. Children with underlying medical conditions are more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19. However, children without underlying medical conditions can also experience severe illness.
  • Give parents or caregivers greater confidence for children to participate in childcare and school and in sports, playdates, extracurricular activities, and other group activities.

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

Reported side effects are mild, temporary and like those experienced after routine vaccines. Some children have no side effects.

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

4. Children receive a smaller dose of COVID-19 vaccine than teens and adults.

COVID-19 vaccine dosage is based on age on the day of vaccination, not on a child’s size or weight. This is also true for other routinely recommended vaccines, like hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccines.

Tips for Parents and Caregivers:

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

Evidence indicates that people can get added protection by getting vaccinated after they have been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. For children who have been infected, their next dose can be delayed 3 months from when symptoms started or, if they did not have symptoms, when they received a positive test.

If your child tests positive for COVID-19 after getting a shot, they should wait until their isolation period has ended before getting their next dose.

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 your child receives multiple vaccines in 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

  • Most people can get no-cost updated COVID-19 vaccines through their private health insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid plans.
  • Adults without health insurance and adults whose insurance does not cover all vaccine costs can get no-cost updated COVID-19 vaccine at healthcare providers, HRSA-supported centers, and select pharmacy locations participating in CDC’s Bridge Access Program.
  • CDC’s Vaccines for Children (VFC) program provides vaccines at no cost to eligible children through health care providers enrolled in the program.
  • Contact your state, territoriallocal, or tribal health department for more information.
  • Search, text your ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find locations near you that may be offering vaccines for children.

Source: CDC

This article was written and edited by the Tayo editorial desk and has been reviewed by an independent panel of subject matter experts.

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