What to Know About COVID Vaccines for Children Ages 5 Through 11

Why children should get vaccinated now and other FAQs

Every person in the country 5 years old and older is now eligible to get vaccinated for COVID-19. Parents and caregivers face decisions about protecting their children from COVID-19 and have questions about vaccines. Read on for answers to questions that families have about making a COVID vaccination decision for their children.

Are the vaccines safe for children?

Parents should take comfort that the COVID-19 vaccines have undergone – and will continue to undergo – the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. Robust clinical trials featuring thousands of children were conducted to evaluate the safety and immune response to a COVID vaccine in this age group. In the United States, the vaccine will be given in a smaller dose and is specially formulated for children in the 5-11 age group.

Why do children need to get vaccinated?

While children were less likely to get COVID-19 early in the pandemic compared with adults, kids now get the disease as often as adults. Some children develop serious COVID-19 symptoms requiring hospitalization. With the highly contagious Delta variant, 1 in 5 new COVID-19 cases have been in children and sometimes they have serious and long-term health effects.

What are the side effects for children?

It’s very unlikely that COVID-19 vaccines will cause long-term health problems. The risk for serious health problems due to the vaccine is lower than the risk of health problems if they’re unvaccinated and get COVID-19. COVID-19 can leave children, as well as adults, with heart and lung damage and other conditions that require long-term treatment. The benefits from COVID-19 vaccines outweigh any potential risk from the vaccine. Getting your children vaccinated will give them the strongest possible protection from COVID-19.

Why should children get the vaccine now?

Vaccines are now available to protect more kids as they prepare to gather with family during the holidays, spend more time indoors due to cold weather, and continue going to school in person. Children who are getting sick from COVID-19 can also spread the virus to others, including older families who may live with them.

Where can I find a vaccine for my children?

Vaccines for kids ages 5 and older are now available through a range of providers, including pediatricians, family doctors, children’s hospitals, pharmacies, and community health centers. More than 25,000 pediatricians and primary care providers have enrolled to administer vaccines, and the numbers are growing. Tens of thousands of local pharmacies across the country in the federal pharmacy program offer vaccination for kids ages 5 through 11, as well as for adolescents and adults. COVID-19 vaccines are given at no cost.

For more information and to find a vaccine, visit www.vaccines.gov.

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