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What do I need to know about COVID vaccines for kids age 5-11?

Rhea Boyd, MD, MPH, FAAP

Answer

​​​​​​​​The delta and omicron variants that cause COVID-19 illness are highly contagious. Getting your child vaccinated is the No. 1 way to protect them from getting COVID-19 or spreading it to other people who are at high risk of serious illness.

Here are a few reasons why you should make sure that your child gets vaccinated as soon as they are eligible.

The COVID-19 vaccine is safe.

We have been looking at this vaccine very closely and following the vaccine clinical trial. We have not seen serious side effects in kids ages 5-11. The side effects that kids experience are mild. They're ones we saw for other age groups like teenagers and young adults. These are things like pain at your injection site, aches and pains, fevers and chills. Mild side effects are commonly treated with over-the-counter medicine and typically only last a couple of days.

Kids ages 5-11 get a smaller dose.

The COVID vaccine is one-third the dose of the vaccine given to adults. Kids still need two shots. The dose was rigorously tested. It is safe and it works.

The vaccine protects against long-term side effects from the virus.

The vaccine protects kids from getting infections and long-lasting complications from the virus. Kids do get COVID-19. They can get incredibly sick and even go to the hospital with COVID-19.

The vaccine is free.

In the United States, the COVID-19 vaccine is available to everyone ages 5 years and older for free. You don't need to worry about having health insurance or citizenship to be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

The AAP recommends the COVID-19 vaccine.

Call your child's pediatrician and tell them you're planning to have your child vaccinated. Ask if your child is caught up on all recommended immunizations. If your child is behind on other shots, they can get caught at the same visit.

More information

Rhea Boyd, MD, MPH, FAAP

Rhea Boyd, MD, MPH, FAAP, is a pediatrician, public health advocate and scholar who co-developed THE CONVERSATION: Between Us, About Us, a national campaign to bring credible information about the COVID vaccines directly to Black, Latinx and Spanish-speaking communities.​​​

Last Updated
6/23/2022
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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