Can kids get the COVID-19 vaccines?

By Mayo Clinic Staff

July 1, 2022

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Can children get the COVID-19 vaccine

Nipunie S. Rajapakse, M.D., M.P.H., Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Mayo Clinic: The Pfizer vaccine is approved for people over the age of 16 and the Moderna vaccine is approved for use in people over the age of 18. Children were excluded from these clinical trials. And so as of right now they are not eligible to receive vaccination.

We know that children can get infected with COVID-19 and can transmit it to others. Thankfully, they seem to get less sick than adults. And in fact, they can have infection without having any symptoms.

Clinical trials are currently underway to study the safety and efficacy of these vaccines in children. We expect to have some of these results back over the next few months. Once we have those results back, we will be able to use that information to determine when we can roll these vaccines out for children.

Key takeaways


Kids 6 months and older can get the vaccine in the U.S. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine emergency use authorization for children ages 6 months through 15. The FDA has also approved this vaccine, now called Comirnaty, to prevent COVID-19 in people age 16 and older.

For people age 12 and older, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine requires two shots given three to eight weeks apart. The vaccine for people ages 5 through 11 contains a lower dose than the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine used for people age 12 and older. For people age 5 through 11, the vaccine requires two shots given three weeks apart. For children ages 6 months through 4 years old, the vaccine requires three shots. The first two shots are given 3 to 8 weeks apart, and the third shot is given at least eight weeks after the second shot. The vaccine contains lower amounts of mRNA than the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines for older children and adults The vaccine for people ages 12 through 15 contains the same dose as the vaccine Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine used for people ages 16 and older.

The FDA has also given emergency use authorization to a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 6 months through 17 years old. This vaccine requires two shots, given 4 to 8 weeks apart. The vaccine for ages 6 months through 5 years old contains lower amounts of mRNA than the COVID-19 vaccine for older adults and children.

Research shows that the three shots for kids ages 6 months through 4 years old have produced antibody levels similar to those in young adults after getting the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Research has shown that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is about 91% effective in preventing COVID-19 in children ages 5 through 11. Research has shown that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is 100% effective in preventing the COVID-19 virus in children ages 12 through 15. The vaccine is 91% effective in preventing severe illness with COVID-19 in people age 16 and older.

It’s estimated that the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is about 51% effective in preventing COVID-19 in babies ages 6 months through 23 months. For kids ages 2 through 5 years old, the vaccine is estimated to be 37% effective in preventing COVID-19. For kids ages 6 through 17, the Moderna vaccine causes an immune response similar to that seen in adults.


A COVID-19 vaccine can prevent your child from getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 and spreading it at home and in school.

If your child gets COVID-19, a COVID-19 vaccine could prevent severe illness. Children with other health conditions, such as obesity, diabetes and asthma, might be at higher risk of serious illness with COVID-19.

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can help keep your child in school and more safely have play dates and participate in sports and other group activities.

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