COVID-19 boosters and kids: What to know

A smiling adolescent girl lifts the sleeve of her T-shirt to display an adhesive bandage.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 6 months to 17 years.

  • Kids and teens 5 years and older can get a bivalent booster shot two months after their last COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Kids 6 months through 4 years old who received the Moderna vaccine can get a bivalent booster two months after their last vaccine too.
  • Kids 6 months through 4 years old who are currently receiving the Pfizer vaccine will get the bivalent vaccine as their third shot in the primary vaccine series.

You may be thinking, "Does my child really need another shot?" Here are five facts to consider, based on information from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Your child may need more protection

The vaccine your child received is still working to protect them. But experts are seeing that this protection fades over time.

This means your child’s immunity against COVID-19 may not be as strong as before. And if they get infected, they can get very sick. COVID-19 can cause severe and long-lasting health problems.

CDC says COVID-19 boosters should help improve protection against the virus and should lower kids' risk of infection. The booster can also reduce their chances of getting seriously ill from the virus.

Booster shots are safe

The COVID-19 booster is the same vaccine your child has already received. The expected side effects are also the same.

The most common side effects include:

  • Pain at the injection site.
  • Headache.
  • Feeling tired.
  • Fever.

Side effects are a sign that your child’s body is increasing its protection against the virus. These side effects are usually mild and go away in a few days. Severe reactions are rare. Some kids don’t experience side effects at all.

Booster shots can keep your family safe

If you have children younger than 6 months old, they won't be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine yet. But you can protect them by making sure your older children stay up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccines. In fact, getting the booster can help protect your entire home. This includes elderly family members who can get very sick if they catch COVID-19.

Booster shots can prevent kids from missing school

Helping your child stay healthy is an important goal in itself. But it also helps prevent them from missing out on:

  • School.
  • Sports.
  • Spending time with friends.
  • Other important events.

There’s no cost for booster shots

You won’t have to pay anything to get your child a COVID-19 booster. And they are available in many places. Consider going back to the place where your child received their last vaccine dose. You can also ask your doctor or local pharmacy about where to find one. In addition, your state or local health department may have information.

Stay informed

Learn more about how to protect yourself and your family in our Coronavirus health topic center.

Reviewed 12/9/2022

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