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COVID-19 VACCINE FOR CHILDREN AGES 6 MONTHS AND OLDER: FAQS

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention granted emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for children over 6 months of age and under 5. Understandably, you may have questions about the vaccines, their administration, and their side effects. To help you, we’ve asked our experts to answer some questions.

What COVID-19 vaccines are available in the United States?

There are currently three COVID-19 vaccines available — one created by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech, one created by Moderna and one created by Johnson & Johnson.

 

  • Pfizer:
    • 6 months through 4 years old: Children in this age group will receive 3 doses in the primary vaccine series. The first and second doses are separated by 3-8 weeks and the second and third doses are separated by at least 8 weeks.
      • Booster: Currently a booster dose is not authorized for children in this age group.
    • 5-17 years old: In this age group, individuals will receive 2 doses of the vaccine, 3-8 weeks apart.
      • Booster: Individuals aged 5-17 are eligible for 1 booster at least 5 months after receiving their second dose of the vaccine.
  • Moderna:
    • 6 months through 17 years old: Children in this age group will receive 2 doses of the vaccine, given 4-8 weeks apart.
      • Booster: Currently a booster dose is not authorized for children and teens in this age group who received a Moderna primary series.
    • 18 years and older: In this age group, 2 doses will be given 4-8 weeks apart.
      • Booster: Individuals in this age group are eligible for 1 booster at least 3 months after their second dose.

  • Johnson & Johnson:
    • 18 years and older: In this age group, 1 dose of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen will be given.
      • Booster: People who received a J&J/Janssen shot should get a booster. Pfizer or Moderna must be used as the booster shot.

Read more on the CDC website about available COVID-19 vaccines and boosters.

What are the vaccine’s side effects, and how can I treat them?

Common side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine include:

  • Pain, redness or swelling at the injection site
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Nausea

Most of the time, these side effects will go away in a few days.

Pain at the injection site (where the shot went into the arm) is also a common reaction. If your child feels pain or discomfort in the spot where they got their COVID‑19 vaccine, try placing a cool, wet washcloth on the area. You can also give them pain or fever-reducing medications following vaccination.

It is not recommended that you give your child any over-the-counter pain reliever before vaccination to prevent side effects.

 

To read all the Q’s & A’s, click here.

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