Shots for Tots: COVID-19 Vaccination for Children Under Five
The wait is over! Children 6 months of age and older in the U.S. are now eligible to receive Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines. Up until now, young children have been the only major group of Americans left unprotected against COVID-19. With COVID-19 cases in young kids surging, parents have been left worrying about when their kids would be eligible for the vaccine.
Who qualifies to get the vaccine?
The Pfizer vaccine is authorized and approved for children ages 6 months to 5 years. Pfizer vaccines for ages 5 and up are already available. The Moderna vaccine is authorized for ages 6 months to 6 years. Having two vaccines for this pediatric population provides a choice for parents who are eager to get their children vaccinated and kept safe.
What is the dosage for the new peds vaccine?
For the Pfizer vaccine, children under age 5 receive three 3-microgram doses, each 0.2mL. Children 5 to 11 receive two 10-microgram doses, also 0.2mL. Those 12 and up receive two 30-microgram doses, which is the same for adults. For the Moderna vaccine, children under age 6 receive two 25-microgram doses (0.25mL), compared to two 50-microgram doses for ages 6 to 12, and two 100-microgram doses for ages 12 and up.
What has uptake been like so far?
Vaccination uptake in young children has been low so far. According to the CDC, only about 29 percent of children aged 5 to 11 are fully vaccinated nationwide. This compares to a vaccination rate of 60% among children aged 12 to 17. In the United States, there are approximately 18 million children under the age of 5. Recently, CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., M.P.H., agreed with the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendation that all children aged 6 months to 5 years receive a COVID-19 vaccine. This expands vaccination eligibility to nearly 20 million additional children, making all Americans aged 6 months and older eligible for vaccination.
Is the vaccine safe?
COVID-19 vaccines have been subjected to and will continue to be subjected to, the most stringent safety testing in US history.
What are my scheduling options?
Pediatric vaccinations for these younger children have begun to be distributed across the country. Our pediatric team is available to answer any questions and help you get your little ones vaccinated.