Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ
The CDC has given final approval of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 6 months and up. We now have pediatric COVID-19 vaccines available and interested families can schedule appointments through MyChart.
We are vaccinating children by appointment at our large vaccine site Glen Ellyn — 430 Pennsylvania Avenue (Pfizer & Moderna), and Tinley Park — 17495 La Grange Road (Pfizer & Moderna) which will allow for safe distancing and importantly, close observation of children following vaccination by our skilled care team members.
October 25, 2022 — The CDC has strengthened its COVID-19 Vaccine booster recommendations. Everyone ages 5 years and older should receive the updated Pfizer or Moderna (bivalent) booster at least 2 months after completing their primary series doses or one or more original (monovalent) boosters.
COVID-19 Pediatric Vaccine FAQ
What are the current COVID-19 vaccines available for pediatric patients?
The available Covid-19 vaccines are NOT weight-based but rather based on immune system age/maturity and therefore, the vaccine dosing becomes smaller the younger the recipient. The Pfizer vaccine is given as 30 mcg doses for ages 12 and up, 10 mcg for children ages 5 – 11, and 3 mcg for children 6 months to 4 years. For the newest eligible age group, children 6 months to 4 years, this vaccine is given as a 3‑dose series, with the first 2 doses given 21 days apart and the 3rd dose at least 2 months after the 2nd dose. The Moderna vaccine is dosed similarly, 100 mcg for ages 12 and up, 50 mcg for children ages 6 to 11, and 25 mcg for children 6 months to 5 years. The Moderna vaccine is administered as a 2‑dose series given 28 days apart.
|6 months — 4 years old||3‑dose primary series||2‑dose primary series|
|5 years old||2‑dose primary series |
Bivalent booster (at least 2 months after primary series)
|6 – 17 years old|
2‑dose primary series
2‑dose primary series
Which vaccine should I choose for my child?
Both vaccines are safe and effective. We understand you may have some additional factors to consider before choosing which vaccine you would like your child to receive. Currently, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are offered at our Glen Ellyn and Tinley Park locations. Please speak with your provider if you have specific questions about your vaccine choice.
Why should my child get this vaccine? I thought children were low risk.
There have been over 6 million COVID illnesses in children in the United States. Up to 30% of children sick enough to be hospitalized had NO underlying health issues or risk factors. There have been over 600 pediatric deaths due to COVID with over 100 pediatric deaths in this age group alone. Although children are at low risk for severe COVID illness, hospitalization, and death, they remain at risk for post-COVID or COVID long-haul syndromes with symptoms of fatigue, brain fog, poor appetite, etc., lasting for weeks to months after even mild cases of COVID.
How effective is this vaccine?
When the primary series of the vaccines available are completed, they have reliably demonstrated that they are extremely protective against the severest complications of Covid-19, which includes hospitalization and even death. The Pfizer vaccine series for children ages 6 months to 4 years was found to elicit a similar immune response in the age groups studied when compared to older recipients of the vaccine. The Moderna trial found the vaccine to be approximately 50% effective in preventing Covid 19 in children 6 to 23 months, and more than 36% effective in children ages 2 to 5 that received the vaccine.
Can this vaccine be given at the same time as my child’s influenza vaccine or other scheduled vaccines?
Yes. COVID vaccines can be given at the same time as the influenza vaccine or any other scheduled childhood immunization.
What are the expected side effects?
Vaccine side effects are common but generally mild. Children in these trials experienced fevers, headaches, fatigue, chills, and generalized body aches. Some children experienced swollen lymph nodes and GI upset/diarrhea. There were no severe side effects reported in these clinical trials. Similar to older kids and adults, children will be asked to wait for 15 minutes after receipt of their vaccines, 30 minutes if there is a history of anaphylaxis.
What about myocarditis (inflammation of the heart)?
Myocarditis is a very rare side effect that was identified to occur more commonly in young males after their 2nd dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna Covid-19 vaccine. The risk was found to be higher in males aged 18 to 24 for the Moderna vaccine and aged 12 to 17 for the Pfizer. For those that developed this rare side effect, further safety monitoring found that most cases of myocarditis associated with the vaccines resolved rather quickly with little intervention and no reported impact on quality of life. When this rare side effect occurs, it is generally within 7 days of vaccine and presents with chest discomfort and fevers. No children have died of COVID vaccine-induced myocarditis and, in general, myocarditis due to vaccine is milder than myocarditis due to COVID infection.
What about long-term side effects of mRNA vaccines?
Long-term side effects are very unlikely based on how mRNA vaccines work and the evidence we have gathered from millions of doses of the vaccine already administered worldwide. Tiny fragments of mRNA are contained in a lipid (fat) particle and delivered into the muscle. The lipid particle helps prevent the mRNA from breaking down during delivery. Within a few hours, the lipid dissolves and releases the mRNA to deliver the message for cells to start making spike proteins. mRNA does not enter the nucleus of the cell where DNA is stored, and it cannot change a person’s DNA. mRNA itself also cannot be converted to DNA. After this message is delivered to the cells, mRNA completely disintegrates and is cleared from the body within 72 hours. For as long as we have had vaccines in history, all serious vaccine events occur within 6 – 8 weeks of a vaccine’s administration. We now have more than 1.5 years of vaccine data, with millions of doses adminstered, showing these vaccines are safe and effective.
Are there any risks to future fertility?
Studies in individuals of reproductive age show no decreases in sperm counts and no increased risk of miscarriage. To date, there have been thousands of successful pregnancies after vaccination. For young people who have begun menstruating there could be a temporary change in menstrual cycles due to the mounting of an immune response to the vaccine. At present, experts in obstetrics, gynecology, and maternal-fetal medicine all endorse receipt of the COVID vaccine.
What if my child has already had COVID? Don’t they already have antibodies?
Studies show that natural immunity is both quite high and fairly common in children. Similar to vaccine protection over time, however, natural immunity wanes. Natural immunity also makes antibodies less predictably, and it currently appears the vaccine is more protective against current COVID variants. Receiving the COVID vaccine after COVID illness also strengthens the immune system response. There is no need to“wait” to receive the vaccine after COVID illness, as soon as your child has recovered symptomatically and has completed quarantine, it is OK to receive the COVID vaccine.
COVID-19 Pediatric Booster FAQ
Who can get a bivalent booster?
Everyone ages 5 and older have now been approved for a COVID-19 bivalent booster shot. Especially children and individuals that have underlying medical conditions (ie diabetes, asthma, other health risk factors), are immunocompromised or live with an immunocompromised individual or family member not eligible for vaccination (<5 yrs of age).
When should they get a bivalent booster?
It is recommended that children age 5 and older receive one updated bivalent booster if it has been at least 2 months since their last COVID-19 vaccine dose, whether that was their final primary series dose or a monovalent booster.
What if they have already had a COVID infection, should they still get a bivalent booster?
Getting a bivalent booster after you have had a COVID-19 infection can still add protection to your immune system, help prevent another COVID-19 infection, and prevent serious complications or hospitalization from the disease.
Will this be the last booster they need?
It is very likely that new boosters will be needed in the future, we just don’t know when yet. Vaccine and medical experts are collecting data to determine levels of immunity from current doses and infections, whether new mutations will determine a need for a new formulation of vaccine, and if immunity differs across different age groups.
How can I learn more about whether a bivalent booster is right for my child?
Your child’s annual physical is always a good time to ask questions and get guidance about preventive health care decisions such as vaccination with your child’s pediatrician. Trusted sources such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (www.healthychildren.org) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov) are also reliable sources of information and have answers to frequently asked questions.