COVID-19 Vaccine for Children and Adolescents
Vacuna contra el COVID-19 para niños y adolescentes
The COVID-19 virus is still spreading and more contagious variants are
causing a rise in pediatric cases. The Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends
that all children and adolescents 5 years of age and older receive a COVID-19
vaccine. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized vaccines
to battle COVID-19—which are safe, effective, and proven to prevent
severe illness from the virus.
COVID-19 vaccine information for children and adolescents 5 to 17 years of age
The FDA has granted
emergency use authorization for the COVID-19 vaccine to be given to children 5 to 15 years of age.
Full approval of the vaccine has been authorized for individuals 16 years
of age and older.
Although the risk of children experiencing
severe illness from COVID-19 is low, mutations of the virus have increased infections
among children and adolescents.
- The vaccine helps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and can help protect
those who are more vulnerable to the virus and siblings who are not eligible
for the vaccine.
Currently, the Pfizer vaccine is the only one authorized for children and
teens 5 to 17 years of age.*
- Children between 5–11 years of age will receive one-third of the
- Adolescents between 12–17 years of age receive the same dosage of
the vaccine as adults.
- There is no weight requirement for the vaccine and dosage does not vary
based on a child’s weight.
- The Pfizer vaccine is administered in two doses, spaced three weeks apart.
Your child will need to receive both doses to be fully vaccinated.
For added protection and to reduce the spread of coronavirus mutations,
adolescents 12-17 years of age should receive a
booster of the Pfizer vaccine five months after their last dose.
- The vaccine will help keep your child in school and provide protection
for your child to participate sports and other group activities.
- It is safe for your child to receive other vaccines at the same time as
receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
Data suggest that the benefits of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine outweigh
any known or potential risks of vaccination. Your child’s pediatrician
is the best source for information. They know your child’s medical
history and can answer your specific questions.
To schedule a free COVID-19 vaccine, visit
In need of a pediatrician? Click here for information on
Mary Washington Primary Care and Pediatrics practices or call Mary Washington Health Link at 540.741.1404.
*The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been linked to rare reports of myocarditis and pericarditis
in young adults, especially in males. The benefits of a receiving a COVID-19
vaccine still far outweigh the potential risks of an adverse reaction.
How do the vaccines work?
- The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are mRNA (messenger RNA) vaccines. The
vaccine teaches your body to make a “spike protein”, a harmless
piece of what is on the surface of the COVID-19 virus.
- Although widespread use of mRNA vaccines is new, the technology has been
studied for decades.
- The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is an adenovirus vaccine. It uses a harmless
cold virus to deliver the DNA for the “spike protein” that
is on the surface of the COVID-19 virus.
- The “spike protein” then triggers an immune response that then
produces antibodies. The antibodies protect your body, should you ever
get infected with the real virus.
- Your body’s immune response to the vaccine is what causes the side
effect symptoms (like aches and fever).
The Science Behind COVID-19 Vaccines: Parent FAQs
Understanding How COVID-19 Vaccines Work
Possible side effects
It’s important to talk to your child about what to expect from getting
a COVID-19 vaccine. Your child may experience short-term side effects
similar to that an of adult, typically present after receiving the second
dose of the vaccine. Studies show that children 5–11 years old were
less likely to experience side effects than older adolescents and adults.
not recommended to take pain relievers
before the vaccine to try to prevent side effects.
Possible side effects may include:
- Pain at the injection site
- Muscle pain
What side effects might my child have after a COVID-19 vaccine?
Here’s what you can do to protect unvaccinated family members:
- Parents, caregivers, family members, and eligible adolescents should get
vaccinated to create a protective cocoon.
- Talk to those interacting with your kids about their vaccination status.
If those individuals are unvaccinated, determine your comfort level. You
may kindly ask for those individuals to wear a mask.
- Teach kids good hand hygiene, to cough and sneeze into their elbow, and
try to maintain physical distance.
Try to maximize your time spent outdoors. When this is not possible, follow
Understand as much as you can about COVID-19 and the available vaccines
through trusted resources:
Frequently Asked Questions
Are children being infected by COVID-19?
New variants are more transmissible—including to children. Children
infected with COVID-19 may experience a rare but serious complication called
multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C). It is important to consider who your child interacts with and level of
transmission within your community.
Was the COVID-19 vaccine rushed?
The development of COVID-19 vaccines was a worldwide effort to try to put
a stop to the pandemic. All three vaccines authorized in the United States
are proven to be safe and effective and no shortcuts were taken.
Was the COVID-19 vaccine rushed?
What happens if my child has his/her 12th birthday between vaccine doses?
If your child turns 12 during the gap between a first dose and second dose,
he/she would receive the dosage indicated for the age at the time of the
Dr. Erwin talks about COVID-19 and vaccines for kids