COVID-19 Vaccines for Children

What you need to know

Frequently asked question about COVID-19 vaccinations for children

How old does my child have to be to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

All children 6 months and older are now eligible to get the vaccine.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for children?

The CDC continues to find the COVID-19 vaccine safe and effective for children in ongoing safety monitoring. If you have specific questions or concerns, we encourage you to speak with your primary care provider.

Should my child get the COVID-19 vaccine?

UW Medicine follows the CDC guidance in recommending that everyone – including all children 6 months or older – get vaccinated against COVID-19.

When should my child get vaccinated against COVID-19?

The CDC recommends getting your child vaccinated as soon as they are eligible. If your child has an upcoming appointment with UW Medicine, such as a wellness visit, we recommend you have them vaccinated during their visit.

Which COVID-19 vaccines are authorized for children?

Currently, only two COVID-19 vaccines are authorized for children: Pfizer-BioNTech for ages 6 months to 17 years, and Moderna for ages 6 months to 17 years.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine for children more than one dose?

"The primary series is either two or three doses depending on your child’s age and which vaccine they receive.

Pfizer-BioNTech: Children ages 5 to 17 receive two doses at least three weeks apart, while children ages 6 months to 4 years receive two doses at least three weeks apart, plus a third dose at least two months later.

Moderna: Children ages 6 months to 17 years receive two doses at least four weeks apart.

How can I make an a COVID-19 vaccine appointment for my child?

You can call 844.520.8700 to schedule an appointment or book online. If your child is 6 months to 4 years old, we recommend you schedule their COVID-19 vaccination through their primary care provider, whether that is through UW Medicine or another health system.

Appointments for children ages 6 months old to 5 years can be made at our clinics in the following neighborhoods:
  • First Hill
  • Kent-Des Moines
  • Shoreline
  • University District

When is my child considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19?

Your child is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 two weeks after completing their primary vaccine series.

How effective is the COVID-19 vaccine in children?

Very effective. Clinical trials of both vaccines have shown to be highly effective against symptomatic COVID-19 illness, which is why they have been authorized for use by the FDA and recommended by the CDC.

What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine on children?

The most common side effects in younger children include arm pain where the shot was given, fatigue, and headache. Adolescents and teens also commonly report fever.

How long have the COVID-19 vaccines been available to children?

Children ages 6 months to 4 years were the last group to become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in June 2022. All children 5 years and older have been eligible for the vaccine since at least November 2021.

Do children get a lesser dose of the COVID-19 vaccine than adults?

Children ages 12 to 17 receive the same dose as adults. Children ages 6 months to 11 years receive smaller doses based on their age group.

If my child already has had COVID-19, do they need to get vaccinated?

Vaccination can give your child added protection against COVID-19 and the CDC recommends vaccination even for children who were previously infected.

Can my child get their COVID-19 vaccine at the same time they get other vaccines (e.g., flu shot, during wellness exam, etc.)?

Children may receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time they receive other vaccines.

Is adult consent required for my child to get vaccinated against COVID-19?

Consent from an authorized adult is required to vaccinate people under age 18 for COVID-19.

Who may provide adult consent for my child to be vaccinated against COVID-19?

Authorized adults who may consent for minors include: parents, adult who has court permissions to make healthcare decisions for the minor, alternative caregiver, kinship caregiver, or specified individuals for homeless children.

More specifically:

  • Parent (unless court order is provided to Public Health which deprives the parent of ability to consent) - Adult who has court permission to make healthcare decisions for the minor (legal guardian, custodian, out-of-home placement order)

  • Alternative caregiver (a competent adult to whom a parent has granted written permission to make healthcare decisions for the minor)

  • Kinship caregiver (a competent adult relative representing self as responsible for the minor’s health care)

  • Special rule for homeless children (consent may be obtained from a school nurse, school counselor or homeless student liaison for necessary, nonemergency care such as vaccination where the child is not under the care of a parent, custodian, guardian or the Department of Children, Youth, and Families)

Does my child (5 or older) need a COVID-19 booster?

The CDC recommends that children ages 5 and older should receive their first COVID-19 booster shot 5 months after their initial Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination series. Only children 2 years or older and are moderately or severely immunocompromised are eligible for a second booster.