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February 23, 2024

COVID-19 Vaccines for Children: Fact Sheet

What you need to know about COVID-19 vaccines, including how they work and why they are important for children.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have carefully reviewed data from clinical trials for Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine. Based on data from several thousand children who participated in clinical trials, the FDA has expanded emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to children ages 6 months and older, and CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) now recommend that all children and adolescents ages 6 months and older get vaccinated as soon as possible and receive a booster when eligible.

How do these vaccines work?
  • Vaccines save lives. These vaccines teach our children’s immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19 without having to get sick or put others at risk of severe illness and death.
  • Sometimes, vaccines can cause minor side effects, such as body aches, mild fever or reduced energy. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity.
  • Getting your child vaccinated is a much safer way for them to build protection than getting COVID-19, considering that the virus has caused serious illness, complications, and even death in hundreds of children. Unvaccinated children with underlying health conditions may be more likely to become severely ill if they are exposed to COVID-19.
  • Your child may receive a COVID-19 vaccine and other routine immunizations at the same visit.
  • Your child can’t get COVID-19 from any COVID-19 vaccine. COVID-19 vaccines have no effects on hormones or puberty, and they won’t prevent your children from having their own children.
Why should my child get vaccinated?
  • More than 13.5 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 in the U.S. since the start of the pandemic. COVID-19 is the fifth most common cause of death for children ages 1 to 4. More than 400 children under the age of 4 have died from COVID-19, and the virus has caused serious illness and complications in hundreds more. Children with underlying health conditions may be more likely to become severely ill.
  • Federal health officials warn that vaccinating children and adolescents has become even more urgent as new, more transmissible virus variants circulate across the country.
  • While most children with COVID-19 have mild or no symptoms, they can still spread the disease to others.
  • Vaccinated children have a low risk of contracting COVID-19 and spreading it to others. This adds a layer of protection for unvaccinated individuals around them, including siblings who are still too young to get vaccinated.
  • Vaccinating children will lower the overall infection rate among the general population, decreasing the chance that the coronavirus will mutate into even more dangerous variants.
  • COVID-19 vaccines also reduce the risk of MIS-C, a serious condition of multisystem inflammation that has affected over 7,500 children in the United States during the pandemic, including 48 children whose deaths were associated with MIS-C.