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COVID Vaccines For Babies & Young Children 6 Months & Older: FAQs for Families

Nearly everyone, including babies and young kids, can stay healthy while protecting their family and others from COVID. The COVID vaccine is recommended for kids age 6 months and older. Vaccination is the best way to support your child's immune system.

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?

There are two COVID vaccine products (from Moderna and Pfizer and BioNTech) for babies and young children. Both vaccines are proven to be effective. The AAP does not recommend one vaccine over another.

Depending on which one they get, your baby or young child will need two or three vaccine doses. Parents should not choose the vaccine for their child based on the number of doses. In some instances, there may be only one option available. This is common for many childhood vaccines for which there are multiple manufacturers.

Children will have highest degree of protection two weeks after they get the last required dose.

Where can babies and young kids get a COVID vaccine?

It is always best to begin with your child's pediatrician. Pediatricians are a trusted source, and they know your child best.

The COVID-19 vaccine may be given at the same time as other immunizations, so you can ask about staying up to date on other vaccinations 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.

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.

If you or your family is unable to access COVID vaccines, text your Zip code to 438829, visit https://www.vaccines.gov or call 1-800-232-0233.

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 helps 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.

How well protected is my baby or young child after the COVID vaccine?

Babies and young children 6 months to 5 years who get COVID vaccines develop immune protection similar to the immune protection that older kids get.

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.

More information

Last Updated
10/21/2022
Source
American Academy of Pediatrics (Copyright © 2022)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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