Date issued: 12/14/22
Nearly everyone, including babies and young kids, can stay healthy while protecting their family and others from COVID. The original COVID vaccine and updated (bivalent) COVID-19 vaccines are recommended for kids age 6 months and older. Vaccination is the best way to protect your child against COVID.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly recommend that all eligible kids and teens get the COVID vaccine.
You or your child may have questions about COVID prevention. Your pediatrician is here to help. Here's what you need to know.
Which pediatric COVID vaccine should I choose?
First your baby or young child will receive two doses of the original vaccine. Then, they will get a third dose of an updated vaccine. Receiving these vaccines helps your child's body develop immunity to protect them from serious illness. The updated COVID vaccine dose boosts immunity to the original virus and recent variants.
COVID vaccines made by two manufacturers (Moderna and Pfizer- BioNTech) are authorized for babies and young children. The AAP does not recommend one vaccine product over another. Children age 6 months through 4 years will receive the vaccine from the same manufacturer for all doses
(If they received three doses of the original vaccine already (Pfizer), a fourth dose of the vaccine is not recommended for kids age 6 months through 4 years at this time.)
Children will have highest degree of protection two weeks after they get the last recommended dose.
Where can babies and young kids get a COVID vaccine?
If your child is not up to date on other vaccinations, ask to receive them with their COVID vaccine at the same visit. Immunizations help your child stay healthy, so their immune system is ready to respond to diseases like COVID, measles, polio, whooping cough and the flu.
It is always best to begin with your child's pediatrician. Pediatricians are a trusted source, and they know your child best.
If your child's pediatrician does not have the COVID vaccine, they can help you sort through options. Depending on your child's age, the vaccine may be available through public health agencies, many clinic settings and pharmacies.
For help accessing COVID vaccines, text your Zip code to 438829, visit https://www.vaccines.gov, call 1-800-232-0233 or TTY 1-888-720-7489.
Will my baby have side effects after the COVID shot?
Most parents are familiar with minor side effects as their child's immune system learns to make antibodies against a disease. Side effects may include things like soreness and redness where the shot goes in. Some babies and children don't feel well later in the day of the shot or on the next day. A small number of children develop a fever—and very few get high fever. Usually, it lasts only a day or two while their immunity is building up.
If your child had a COVID infection, they should still receive a COVID vaccination according to CDC guidelines. It is possible to be infected again with the virus. Vaccines help protect your child by providing extra protection from COVID, even after they have had a COVID infection. People who already had COVID and do not get vaccinated after they recover are more likely to get COVID again than those who get vaccinated after they recover.
Just like the rest of us, babies and young kids deserve to get the same immune-boosting benefits against COVID. Plus, they are helping to keep others healthy! For example, infants under age 6 months are too young to get the vaccine. Between January 2020 and October 2022, there were 265 babies under age 6 months who died of COVID. And that is why it is very important for pregnant and breastfeeding people—and all other people who are around babies—to protect the baby by getting vaccinated.
- COVID Vaccine Checklist for Kids
- v-safe (after-vaccination health check-in program from CDC)