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When Can Kids Get the COVID Vaccine or Booster?

COVID vaccines are our best hope to move beyond the COVID pandemic. Nearly all kids age 6 months and older are eligible for COVID vaccines and a booster dose if it has been at least 2 months since they received their last primary series dose or primary booster.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend COVID vaccines for everyone age 6 months and older to protect themselves and everyone around them from serious disease and hospitalization from COVID.

Parents should not wait to get their child or teen vaccinated against COVID. More contagious variants of the virus are spreading quickly and infecting more people.

Do kids still need the primary series—or can they just get the updated booster?

The primary series provides a base of protection against severe disease, including hospitalizations and death. If your child is 6 months old or older, they need to get all recommended doses of the original COVID vaccine before receiving the updated COVID vaccine. If your child or teen only got one COVID shot and it was several months ago, they do not need to start over. But they should get the rest of the original vaccine doses recommended for them, followed by the updated vaccine.

Did you know?
Many vaccines are given as a series of two, three or more doses spaced apart. Pediatricians call this the "primary series" of vaccine doses—the doses needed to build up your child's immunity. Some vaccinations require a booster dose. For example, the influenza (flu) vaccine is given every year to protect us from new and different strains.

For COVID vaccines, the size of the dose and type of vaccine depend on a child's age. Babies and young children get a smaller dose than older children and teens.

Two COVID vaccines (mRNA vaccines from Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna) are available for kids age 6 months to 11 years old. A third COVID vaccine (protein subunit vaccine from Novavax) is authorized for kids age 12 years and older.

See the chart below for details on how many doses kids need based on their age. Parents should note that additional doses may be recommended if a child has certain medical conditions or takes medicines that weaken the immune system.

If your child has a medical condition or takes medicines that affect their immune system, ask your pediatrician whether your child's recommended schedule is different. If you are unsure about the timing of your child's vaccinations, do not hesitate to ask your pediatrician!

Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine


Moderna vaccine



Novavax vaccine

Dose 1

Dose 2

Dose 3

Dose 1

Dose 2

Dose 3

Dose 1

Dose 2

Dose 3

6 months – 4 years old*

3-8 weeks after dose 1

Bivalent dose at least 8 weeks after dose 2


6 months – 5 years old

4-8 weeks after dose 1

Bivalent booster at least 2 months after last dose




5 – 11 years old

3-8 weeks after dose 1

Bivalent booster at least 2 months after last dose


6 – 11 years old

4-8 weeks after dose 1

Bivalent booster at least 2 months after last dose



12 – 17 years old

3-8 weeks after dose 1

Bivalent booster at least 2 months after last dose

12 – 17 years old

4-8 weeks after dose 1

Bivalent booster at least 2 months after last dose

12 – 17 years old

3-8 weeks after dose 1

Pfizer or Moderna bivalent booster at least 2 months after last dose


*Children ages 6 months through 4 years who got 3 doses of Pfizer should not get a fourth dose at this time.

Source: AAP Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccine Dosing Quick Reference Guide, https://aap.org/CovidVaccineGuide

Do kids need to wait to get the vaccine if they had COVID?

Talk to your pediatrician about the best timing for vaccination following infection. If your child has an active COVID-19 infection or had COVID between doses, they should wait to get vaccinated until they've recovered and are no longer contagious.

Children who recently had COVID can consider delaying a COVID-19 vaccine by up to 3 months as there is a lower risk of getting sick with COVID again during that time. But it is important to note that with the recent variants, some people have gotten COVID again within 3 months.

People still should get all recommended doses even if they had COVID. This is because COVID vaccines have been shown to provide the strongest, broadest and most long-lasting protection, both in people who have and who have not had COVID infection previously. People who are not vaccinated and become infected also may be at higher risk of long-term effects from their infection (known as long COVID or post-COVID conditions).

One thing is certain: COVID-19 vaccines are preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death for billions of people who've received them already. We are relieved that almost all children and teens can get the vaccines, so they can enjoy their communities safely.

More information

Last Updated
1/20/2023
Source
American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases (Copyright © 2023)
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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