COVID Vaccines for Children Under 5: What Every Parent Needs to Know - CNET

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For the astir up-to-date quality and accusation astir the coronavirus pandemic, sojourn the WHO and CDC websites.

What's happening

A CDC sheet has unanimously endorsed FDA recommendations that COVID vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna beryllium fixed to children arsenic young arsenic 6 months old.

Why it matters

To date, younger children haven't been capable to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

What's next

Infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers could person their archetypal dose arsenic aboriginal arsenic the week of June 20.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Food and Drug Administration have authorized COVID vaccines for children arsenic young arsenic 6 months old.

The agencies approved backed exigency usage authorization of Moderna's a two-part vaccine for children ages 6 months done 5 years, and Pfizer-BioNTech's three-dose vaccine for children ages 6 months done 4 years. 

The CDC encourages parents to vaccinate each eligible children, including those who person already had COVID-19.

"Together, with subject starring the charge, we person taken  another important step  guardant  in our nation's combat against COVID-19," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said successful a June 18 statement. "We cognize millions of parents and caregivers are anxious to get their young children vaccinated, and with today's decision, they can."   

Here's what to cognize astir COVID-19 vaccines for children, including what ages they're approved for, imaginable broadside effects and differences betwixt the 2 approved vaccines.

How aged bash kids request to beryllium to get a COVID vaccine?

With the CDC backing the FDA recommendations, 2 COVID vaccines are present approved successful the US for children nether 5 years old: Moderna's is for children 6 months done 5 years old, portion Pfizer's vaccine is intended for kids 6 months done 4 years old. 

How galore vaccine shots bash kids get?

Moderna's vaccine is simply a two-shot dose. Each dose is 25 micrograms, a 4th the spot fixed to adults, with the 2nd changeable fixed 4 weeks aft the first. 

Pfizer's vaccine is simply a three-shot process: Each dose is lone 3 micrograms, a tenth of the big version. The archetypal 2 shots are fixed 3 weeks apart, and the 3rd is administered astatine slightest 2 months aft the second.

Is the COVID vaccine harmless for children?

The results submitted to the FDA and CDC are inactive preliminary, some agencies accidental they are harmless and effective.  

"There are galore processes successful spot to guarantee safety, including oversight from vaccine advisory groups, the FDA, and the vaccine manufacturers," Dr. Leslie Sude, a pediatrician astatine the Yale School of Medicine, said successful a statement. "We are fortunate to unrecorded successful a state that has these oversights successful place." 

Sude added that children get little doses of the vaccines than adults but "mount robust antibody responses with nary information concerns."

What are the broadside effects?


Reported broadside effects successful young children receiving a COVID-19 vaccine see fever, fatigue and symptom astatine the injection site.

Freemixer/Getty Images

The 2 vaccines for younger children produced common, mild broadside effects including irritability, sleepiness, fever, fatigue and symptom astatine the injection site, akin to the effects reported successful a December 2021 CDC report on much than 8 cardinal doses of Pfizer's vaccine fixed to kids 5 to 11.

FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said successful a June 17 statement that parents of younger children "can person assurance successful the information and effectiveness of these COVID-19 vaccines and beryllium assured that the bureau was thorough successful its valuation of the data."  

Inflammation of the bosom muscle, known arsenic myocarditis, is a rare and typically mild broadside effect linked to the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, mostly successful teen males and young men ages 12 to 29. (Myocarditis tin besides hap aft corruption with COVID-19.)

In 1 study, the CDC said that lone 54 recipients retired of 1 cardinal males ages 12 to 17 experienced myocarditis pursuing their 2nd dose of Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine.  

Neither proceedings with younger children reported immoderate cases of myocarditis, but the FDA said determination isn't capable information to adequately find the risk.

What's the quality betwixt the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines?

Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech logos

While some Moderna and Pfizer vaccines person been o.k. for children, determination are differences betwixt the two.


There are respective cardinal differences betwixt the 2 vaccines, including imaginable broadside effects and proven effectiveness.

Side effects
Between 21% to 26% of kids property 6 months to 5 years developed a fever aft each dose of the Moderna vaccine, much than successful adolescents and adults. Fever was little communal successful the Pfizer trial, reported successful lone 7% of children ages 6 to 23 months aft each shot.

In the Moderna trial, 62% of kids 3 to 5 years aged experienced fatigue, compared with conscionable nether 45% of children property 2 to 4 years aged successful Pfizer's trial.

Two doses of the Moderna vaccine are 51% effectual successful preventing corruption successful children 6 months to 2 years old, the institution reported, and 37% successful kids 2 done 5.  The vaccine's quality to forestall superior unwellness oregon hospitalization is expected to beryllium higher.  

Pfizer has reported its three-dose vaccine was 80% successful preventing infection, but its probe was based connected a precise tiny excavation of subjects. More information volition go disposable arsenic its vaccine is rolled retired widely.  

Do kids adjacent request to beryllium vaccinated for COVID?

Children are little apt to acquisition terrible unwellness than adults, but immoderate person go highly sick. The omicron question was specifically hard on children, starring to an summation successful juvenile hospitalizations. Between December 2021 and February 2022, nearly 90% of children 5 to 11 who were hospitalized were unvaccinated, according to the CDC. 

Of those children, 30% had nary underlying aesculapian conditions that would person made them much susceptible to much superior complications. 

An April 2022 CDC report recovered that 75% of children property 11 and younger showed grounds of erstwhile coronavirus infection, with astir one-third becoming recently seropositive since December 2021. But having antibodies for the microorganism "should not beryllium interpreted arsenic extortion from aboriginal infection," the bureau said successful a statement.

"Vaccination remains the safest strategy for preventing complications from SARS-CoV-2 infection, including hospitalization among children and adults."

Kids 5 to 11 who person COVID-19 besides person a higher hazard of multisystem inflammatory syndrome, oregon MIS-C, a uncommon but perchance superior complication that tin impact inflammation of the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes and different organs. 

More than 2 cardinal cases of COVID-19 person been reported successful children 4 years aged oregon younger successful the US, according to the CDC, resulting successful 442 deaths.

And adjacent a mild lawsuit of COVID-19 tin disrupt a child's quality to socialize oregon be school, and kids tin walk the corruption to much susceptible household oregon assemblage members. As of February 2022, astir 75% of children and adolescents person had COVID-19, according to the CDC

When tin my kid get a booster? 

Most kids 5 and older are currently eligible for a azygous booster dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine astatine slightest 5 months aft their 2nd superior dose. Immunocompromised kids are eligible for their archetypal booster astatine slightest 3 months aft their past vaccine. 

In March, the FDA authorized a 2nd booster for children 12 and older with compromised immune systems.

Children's booster shots are disposable lone astatine locations wherever the low-dose Pfizer vaccine for kids is successful stock. Call your pediatrician oregon section wellness session for a recommendation. You can text your ZIP codification to 438829 or use this vaccine finder link to find a determination adjacent you. 

"Vaccination with a superior bid among this property radical has lagged down different property groups leaving them susceptible to superior illness," Walensky said successful a statement in May. "We indispensable proceed to summation the fig of children who are protected."

A determination has not been made yet astir boosters for children nether 5.

Do I request to springiness consent for my kid to get vaccinated? 

Parents mostly request to consent to children receiving aesculapian care, including Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine. This is particularly existent for younger children. 

However, depending connected which authorities you unrecorded in, determination whitethorn beryllium a ineligible precedent for teens and different kids to petition the vaccine without parental permission. 

Tennessee's vaccine director, Michelle Fiscus, was fired in August, allegedly successful portion for sending retired a memo detailing the state's "mature insignificant doctrine," which explains however minors whitethorn question aesculapian attraction without the consent of their parents. 

My kid has allergies. Can they get the vaccine?

Yes, though you mightiness beryllium asked to instrumentality astir the waiting country truthful wellness attraction providers tin show them for (extremely rare) allergic reactions that tin hap aft immoderate vaccination. 

"If the kid has a past of anaphylaxis oregon different terrible allergies, past the reflection clip aft the injection whitethorn beryllium 30 minutes alternatively of 15," said Dr. Anne Liu, an infectious illness specializer with Stanford Hospital and Clinics and the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. 

Children who person been prescribed an EpiPen for immoderate crushed should bring it to their vaccine appointment, Liu added. 

As with adults, children with an allergy to an constituent successful Pfizer's COVID-19 shouldn't instrumentality it. You tin find a database of ingredients successful Pfizer's vaccine for kids 5 to 11 connected the FDA's information sheet

Can my kid get their COVID-19 changeable astatine the aforesaid clip arsenic different vaccines?

According to the CDC, your kid whitethorn get different vaccines erstwhile they spell successful for their COVID changeable without waiting 14 days betwixt appointments. Flu shots tin beryllium fixed to children 6 months and older.

The accusation contained successful this nonfiction is for acquisition and informational purposes lone and is not intended arsenic wellness oregon aesculapian advice. Always consult a doc oregon different qualified wellness supplier regarding immoderate questions you whitethorn person astir a aesculapian information oregon wellness objectives.

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