The COVID-19 vaccine has been authorized for emergency use in children 6 months of age and older, and there’s no time like the present for making sure our kids stay safe.
Below, we highlight important information for parents and caregivers about vaccinations for children.
Are children at risk?
More than 13 million children in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19 during the pandemic and more than 9,000 have been hospitalized. Although the risks to any individual child of having severe illness or complications from COVID-19 are low, with the coronavirus circulating in our communities, children are being hospitalized with infection or complications such as multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, referred to as MIS-C. Children can also die from COVID-19 at rates comparable to seasonal influenza.
Why should children get vaccinated?
Getting children vaccinated against COVID-19 can help prevent them from getting really sick even if they do get infected. And it helps prevent serious short- and long-term complications of COVID-19. Vaccinating children can also give parents greater confidence when their children participate in child care, school, and other activities.
Getting children vaccinated for flu is another important way to keep them healthy. Each year, millions of children get sick with seasonal flu, thousands are hospitalized, and some children die. When you make an appointment for your child to get a COVID-19 vaccination, ask for a flu shot during the same visit. Getting both vaccines simultaneously is safe and effective.
Which vaccines are authorized for children 6 months to 17 years of age?
The Pfizer vaccine is authorized by the Food and Drug Administration and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for children age 6 months to 17 years. The Moderna vaccine is authorized by the FDA and recommended by the CDC for children 6 months to 5 years. The CDC is reviewing data regarding the Moderna vaccine for children 6 years old to 17 years old and is expected to issue clinical guidance for the Moderna vaccine for this age group in the near future.
What does the scientific evidence show about COVID-19 vaccine safety and effectiveness?
The COVID-19 vaccines have been found to be safe and effective. They were evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials involving both children and adults and were developed using science that has existed for decades. They have been administered to hundreds of millions of people around the world and have demonstrated a historic level of safety and effectiveness. The data also shows that the vaccines reduce the risk of symptomatic COVID-19 in children if they do become infected.
For the latest information on vaccines and appointment availability, please visit kp.org/covidvaccine.