COVID-19 vaccine informationUpdated January 11, 2022 at 6:38 a.m.
The COVID‑19 vaccines are a safe and effective way to prevent illness from COVID‑19.
Children's Health℠ patients who are eligible to get vaccinated may receive the COVID‑19 vaccine when they come in for their regularly scheduled appointments. If you are interested in having your child vaccinated at Children’s Health, please reach out to your care team. You can also receive the COVID‑19 vaccine at one of these community vaccination sites.
Have questions about the COVID‑19 vaccine and children? See vaccine FAQs below. You can also watch this virtual town hall to learn more about the benefits of the COVID‑19 vaccines.
Is the COVID‑19 vaccine safe for children?
The COVID‑19 vaccine had to meet high standards for safety and effectiveness to be authorized by the FDA. COVID‑19 vaccines have been given safely to millions of people and have been closely studied and monitored. Data shows they are safe and highly effective at preventing illness.
Does emergency use authorization mean the COVID‑19 vaccine is not thoroughly tested?
Currently, the Pfizer COVID‑19 vaccine has emergency use authorization (EUA) for ages 5-15 and full FDA approval for those 16 years and older. This does not mean that the vaccine was not thoroughly tested in children and teens under 16. The FDA closely reviewed safety and efficacy data on the COVID‑19 vaccine before authorizing its use in children.
How effective is the COVID‑19 vaccine in children?
In clinical trials for children ages 5-11, the Pfizer COVID‑19 vaccine was 90.7% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID‑19. Among 12-18 year-olds, the Pfizer vaccine has been 93% effective at preventing hospitalizations. Unvaccinated adolescents are 10x more likely to be hospitalized with COVID‑19 than their vaccinated peers.
Why should I vaccinate my child for COVID‑19 if their risk of serious illness is low?
While the risk of severe COVID‑19 in children is lower compared to adults, that risk is not zero. Highly contagious variants have shown that children can and do get sick from COVID‑19. In addition to protecting their health, vaccinating children is key to protecting others.
- As of late December 2021, nearly 7.9 million children in the U.S. have tested positive for COVID‑19.
- With the rise of the Delta variant, there was a 5x increase in COVID‑19 hospitalizations among children and teens. The rate of new COVID‑19 hospitalizations in children reached a record-high with the Omicron variant surge.
- Children with even mild symptoms may be at risk for rare long-term side effects. As of early January 2022, more than 6,000 children have been diagnosed with multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) after COVID‑19.
Is the COVID‑19 vaccine for children the same vaccine as for teens and adults?
The Pfizer COVID‑19 vaccine for younger children is the same vaccine as for teens and adults, but it is given in a smaller dose. This smaller dose is due to the development of a child’s immune system, not based on a child’s size or weight.
Will my child experience any side effects from the COVID‑19 vaccine?
Your child may experience some side effects after getting the COVID‑19 vaccine. Side effects are typically mild and are normal signs that the vaccine is building protection against COVID‑19.
Possible COVID‑19 vaccine side effects in children include:
- Pain, redness or swelling at the injection site
- Muscle pain
Contact your child’s health care provider if:
- The redness or pain at the injection site gets worse after 24 hours
- Their side effects are worrying you or do not go away after a few days
Seek immediate medical attention if your child shows signs of a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine, such as rapid heartbeat, swelling of the throat, rash or hives. This reaction is extremely rare.
Could there be any long-term effects of the COVID‑19 vaccine for children?
There is no evidence of any long-term effects of the COVID‑19 vaccine in children. The COVID‑19 vaccines have been safely given to millions of people over the age of 12. The FDA required the COVID‑19 vaccine be studied for at least 8 weeks after the final dose to ensure its safety, and the vaccine will continue to undergo intense safety monitoring.
Does the COVID‑19 vaccine cause heart problems?
One side effect that parents may have heard about is the chance of heart inflammation, or myocarditis. This is very rare and cases have been mild. People are more likely to experience myocarditis after COVID‑19 illness than vaccination. Learn more about the COVID‑19 vaccine and myocarditis.
Can the COVID‑19 vaccine impact a child’s fertility?
Parents may have heard misinformation about the COVID‑19 vaccine affecting fertility. There is no evidence to support this myth. Experts will continue to monitor the COVID-19 vaccine to ensure it is safe and effective. Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine and fertility.
Should my child get the COVID‑19 vaccine if they have a medical condition?
Yes, the COVID‑19 vaccine is safe and recommended for children with chronic or underlying medical conditions.
Should my child get vaccinated if they’ve already had COVID‑19?
Your child should get the COVID‑19 vaccine even if they already had COVID‑19. Studies have shown that the vaccines can trigger a COVID‑19 immune response stronger than the one naturally present in people who had COVID‑19.
Will my child need a COVID‑19 booster shot or a shot annually?
Booster shots are currently available and recommended by the CDC for individuals 12 and older. Experts will continue to monitor vaccine efficacy to determine if younger children will need a booster shot in the future.
Can my child get the COVID‑19 vaccine at the same time as other vaccines?
Your child can get the COVID‑19 vaccine at the same time as other routine vaccinations, including the flu vaccine. Talk with your child’s health care provider if you have any questions about your child’s vaccine schedule.
Where can my child get a COVID‑19 vaccine?
Children may be able to get a COVID‑19 vaccine at their pediatrician's office, or at a variety of community clinics and pharmacies. Children's Health will offer COVID‑19 vaccines to patients being seen in our clinics and hospital locations.
Contact your child’s health care provider to ask about vaccine availability or see a list of community vaccination sites. You will not need to pay for your child’s COVID‑19 vaccine. It is given at no cost to the recipient.
Where can I get more information about the COVID‑19 vaccine for children?
Information about COVID‑19 and the COVID‑19 vaccines may be updated as the pandemic evolves. It is important to turn to trusted medical experts to understand what's true and what's not. If you have questions about the COVID‑19 vaccine and your child's health, ask your child's health care provider for more information. You can also turn to trusted resources, such as the CDC website.
COVID‑19 vaccine resources:
- COVID‑19 vaccine for ages 5-11: FAQs for parents
- 6 myths about the COVID‑19 vaccine
- COVID‑19 vaccine and children
- CDC COVID‑19 website
- American Academy of Pediatrics COVID‑19 website
- Does the COVID-19 vaccine cause infertility?
- Can the COVID-19 vaccine cause heart problems?
To learn more, watch this interview with Jeffrey Kahn, M.D., Director of Infectious Disease at Children's Health℠ and Professor at UT Southwestern.