Here are some answers to common questions to help you decide to get your child or yourself vaccinated against COVID-19.
My child has a high-risk medical condition, can they get vaccinated?
Yes, the COVID-19 vaccination can be given to a child who has a high-risk condition. The only people who shouldn’t get the vaccine are those who have had a severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis requiring emergency medical care to the COVID-19 vaccine, or one of its components.
Can my child get COVID-19 disease from getting the COVID-19 vaccine?
No, the COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the United States do not have the live virus in them that causes COVID-19. A COVID-19 vaccine can’t make your child sick with COVID-19.
Can my child get the COVID-19 vaccine at any time?
Children ages 6 months and up can receive the COVID-19 vaccination at any time — even at the same time as other vaccines. Previously, it was recommended families wait two weeks between getting a typical vaccine and getting the COVID-19 vaccine, but that is no longer the case.
Are there any restrictions to getting the COVID-19 vaccine?
It is recommended that a child who has had multi-system inflammatory syndrome, or MIS-C, a rare problem of COVID-19 in kids, should wait at least 90 days post-recovery before getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
Why is the COVID-19 vaccine dosage less for kids? Or different for various vaccine brands or types?
Children need to complete the full series following the recommended schedule to be considered protected against COVID-19 illness. Some brands of vaccine require a different number of doses to become protected against illness. You must stick with one brand of vaccine for all doses – do NOT mix and match.
The COVID-19 vaccine dosage is a reduced amount for kids, and is different based on age. This is because vaccines rely on our immune systems, which change as we age. Vaccine dosing is not dependent on weight and size like medications are.
Deaths arising due to COVID-19 do happen in all age groups. But the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) currently lists the risk as being quite low (up to 0.32%). While rare, no parent should have to risk this outcome when safe vaccines are effective at preventing it.
Can mRNA get into my child’s genes or alter their DNA?
No, COVID-19 vaccines will not change your child’s DNA. The two types of COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States are messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines and viral vector vaccines.
- Learn more about how mRNA COVID-19 vaccines work.
- Learn more about how viral vector vaccines work.
My child has already had COVID-19, are they immune or do they need to be vaccinated?
People who have had COVID-19 do need the COVID-19 vaccination even if they have had COVID-19. The timing of the vaccine should be after the isolation period has passed, symptoms have subsided, and the child has recovered. While infection with COVID-19 may provide some temporary protection against future COVID-19 illness, infection acquired immunity does not seem to protect against variants like Omicron as well as vaccines do.
What side effects could my child experience from the COVID-19 vaccination?
After the COVID-19 vaccination your child may have some mild-to-moderate symptoms. Kids have more active immune systems than adults. They generally respond more strongly to vaccines, which can result in symptoms such as fever, fussiness, pain, redness and swelling at the injection site. It is a sign that your child’s immune system is working. Side effects usually occur 1-2 days after the vaccination and no later than the week after vaccination. Call your health care provider if any symptoms occur, such as a worrisome or persistent rash.
If my child has had COVID-19, will their side effects be worse from the COVID-19 vaccination?
This has been reported in some adults, but not all who have gotten vaccinated after having COVID-19 disease. Everyone is different in how they respond. Since protective antibodies after disease may not last long, especially if COVID-19 was an asymptomatic or mild case, the lasting protection comes with being vaccinated against COVID-19.
Can my child get COVID-19 after they are fully vaccinated?
COVID-19 vaccines are shown to prevent severe disease and the need to be admitted to the hospital. While some children that are fully vaccinated may test positive and develop symptoms of COVID-19 illness if exposed, their recovery will be quicker, the overall illness will be less severe and they will likely be at lower risk for spreading the virus to others. It is important to remember that children need to complete the full series following the recommended schedule to be considered protected against COVID-19 illness. Some brands of vaccine require a different number of doses to become protected against illness. And for many kids, a “booster” dose is needed to be considered fully up-to-date. Please check the CDC’s website for the most current guidelines on vaccine doses and schedules. Stay Up-To-Date with Your COVID-19 Vaccines | CDC
Is there a cost to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
There is no cost for the vaccine, but there is an administration fee that may be covered by insurance. Ask your care team if you don’t have insurance or if you have questions.
For more answers to your questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, please visit the FDA’s Q&A page.
Are emergency use authorized products safe?
An Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) is a tool the FDA can use to authorize the use of vaccines during a public health emergency. An EUA was issued for COVID vaccines because the risks from getting infected with COVID are much higher than risks from the vaccine. An EUA means vaccines have not completed their full studies to allow them to become licensed, but they have been carefully studied and been shown to be safe for patients. An EUA can only be granted when no adequate, approved, available alternatives exist, and when the benefits outweigh the risks.
Will the COVID-19 vaccination disrupt my child’s menstrual cycle? Can they become sterile if they get vaccinated?
One NIH funded study did reveal that a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine can, in some small proportion of women, cause a temporary increase in menstrual cycle length. Importantly, this increase does not appear to persist into future cycles and has no apparent impact on fertility.
Is it safe to get vaccinated when pregnant? Does the vaccine cause miscarriages?
There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination causes any problems with pregnancy. You can get the vaccine if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant. Talk with your health care provider if you have questions.
COVID-19 disease has been shown to increase the risk for miscarriage, pre-term birth and low-birthweight in children. Unvaccinated people who are pregnant are also at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease including hospitalization. The CDC strongly recommends that pregnant women get vaccinated to protect themselves and provide protection for their unborn child.