Why vaccinate children against COVID-19?
What parents and caretakers need to know.
- COVID-19 can make children and teens of any age very sick and sometimes requires hospitalization. In rare situations, complications from COVID-19 can lead to death. Children can also suffer from long-term health problems after a COVID-19 infection, including Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) and post-COVID conditions or “long COVID.”
- The vaccine has met FDA’s scientific standards for children’s safety.
- Clinical trials show the vaccine is effective at preventing serious illness and hospitalization from COVID-19 for children 6 months and older. Growing evidence suggests that COVID-19 vaccines may also lower the risk of MIS-C and post-COVID conditions.
- Vaccinating children can help protect family members, including family members who may be at increased risk of getting very sick if they are infected.
- Vaccinating children 6 months years and older can help keep them in childcare or school, and help them safely participate in sports, playdates, travel, and other group activities.
Children and teens who have already had COVID-19 should still get vaccinated. For children who have been infected with COVID-19, their next dose can be delayed 3 months from when symptoms started or, if they did not have symptoms, when they received a positive test. Read the science about immunity from COVID-19 infection and vaccination.
COVID-19 Vaccines and other childhood vaccines, including the flu vaccine, can be given at the same doctor’s visit.
Questions? Ask your pediatrician or health care provider about the pediatric COVID vaccine. You can also call 1-855-MD-GOVAX (1-855-634-6829).
Vaccines & Eligibility for Children
Marylanders 6 months and older are eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine to help protect against COVID-19. The Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are now both authorized for children 6 months and older.
COVID-19 vaccine dosage is based on age on the day of vaccination, not on size or weight. Children get a smaller dose of COVID-19 vaccine than teens and adults that is the right amount for their age group.
COVID-19 primary series vaccination for children and teens
|6 months – 4 years old||3 dose primary series||2 dose primary series||Not Authorized||Not Authorized|
|5-11 years old||2 dose primary series||2 dose primary series||Not Authorized||Not Authorized|
|12–17 years old||2 dose primary series||2 dose primary series||2 dose primary series||Not Authorized|
Booster shots are available for people age 5 and over. Newly updated bivalent boosters are now available and authorized for Marylanders 12+ only.
COVID-19 vaccine boosters can enhance or restore protection that might have waned over time after your primary series vaccination. Marylanders ages 5-11 should receive the Pfizer COVID-19 monovalent booster shot at least 5 months after completing their primary vaccine series, and Marylanders 12+ should receive a newly authorized bivalent booster at least 2 months after completing their primary vaccine series or receiving their most recent recommended booster dose.
Where can I get a pediatric COVID-19 vaccine?
- Check with your child’s healthcare provider about whether they offer COVID-19 vaccination
- Check your local pharmacy’s website to see if vaccination walk-ins or appointments are available for children
- Visit covidvax.maryland.gov to find a location and make an appointment
The COVID-19 vaccine is free regardless of a person’s immigration or health insurance status.
Before and after your child’s COVID-19 vaccine
The experience of getting a COVID-19 vaccine will be similar to the experience of getting other routine childhood vaccines. Use the CDC’s tips to support your child before, during, and after they get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Your child may have some side effects, which are normal signs that their body is building protection. It is important to note that more than 90% of COVID-19 side effects are minor, and last only 1-2 days.
Possible short-term side effects from the COVID-19 vaccination
On the arm where your child got the shot:
Throughout the rest of the body:
- Muscle Pain
- Parents and Guardian Flyer (PDF)
- MDH Frequently Asked Questions about Pediatric Vaccines
- CDC’s COVID-19 vaccine guidance for children & teens
- CDC FAQs for COVID-19 vaccination in children
- The Science Behind COVID-19 Vaccines: Parent FAQs (AAP)
- Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccines: Overview and Safety
- Moderna COVID-19 Vaccines: Overview and Safety