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June 20, 2022

COVID-19 Vaccines for Children Ages 6 Months and Up: What Employers Need to Know

Stephen Massey

Children as young as 6 months old are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccination – and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that all eligible children get vaccinated as soon as possible. The decision was made after analyzing substantial data from clinical trials involving thousands of children, confirming the vaccine's safety and effectiveness for children in this age group.

WHY IT MATTERS: Children under 5 were the last group to become eligible for vaccination – which may explain why they have the highest hospitalization rate for COVID-19 among all youth.

  • After over two years of precautions to protect their vulnerable children, parents can finally breathe easier and get back to pre-pandemic activities, travel and family gatherings they have not felt safe doing.
  • Ahead of a possible fall surge, getting the youngest children vaccinated will help protect against school and daycare closures and parents having to miss work to take care of their children.

  • During a single week of the Omicron surge in January, over 7,000 schools closed for at least one day.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Working parents – particularly low-income workers – may require support to get these youngest children vaccinated.

  • Share trusted information about the safety of vaccines for children. A majority of parents of children under 5 say they don’t have enough information about the safety or effectiveness of the vaccines. We have resources you can share, below.

  • Provide paid time off and flexible scheduling for employees with children to attend vaccine appointments, care for children recovering from vaccine side effects and catch up on well-child visits that may have been postponed during the pandemic. In earlier polling, half of all parents making $50,000 or less expressed concern about being able to take time off to get their children vaccinated. That was more than double the rate for parents with higher incomes. 
  • Remove barriers associated with childhood vaccination by offering transportation, language support or internet access for scheduling appointments. Thirty-eight percent of low-income working parents were concerned about difficulty traveling to a vaccination appointment.
  • Connect families to free or discounted child care if they need support managing care for multiple children during vaccine appointments. 
  • Host on-site workplace vaccination clinics for employees and their families in partnership with your local public health department.
  • Offer employee incentives to encourage childhood vaccinations.
  • Create time in employees’ schedules to book an appointment or send company-wide reminders.
  • Join our campaign, along with the American Academy of Pediatrics, Business Roundtable and more than two dozen other national business and public health organizations, to support working parents who choose to vaccinate their children.

WHAT’S DIFFERENT: Two vaccine options are now available for children. It’s important to know that for the youngest children, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine series is three doses, and all three are needed in order to get the protection the vaccine offers. 

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine: 

  • Available for ages 6 months to 4 years. 
  • Three doses total, the first two separated by three to eight weeks; the third dose at least eight weeks after the second dose. 
  • All three doses must be received in order for your child to be protected. 
  • These shots are 3 micrograms, one-tenth of the adult dosage.

The Moderna vaccine: 

  • Available for ages 6 months to 5 years. 
  • Two doses, four to eight weeks apart. 
  • These shots are one-fourth of the adult dosage.

Children ages 5 to 17 are eligible for a two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. And, as of June 2022, children ages 6 to 17 are eligible for a two-dose Moderna vaccine.

ONE MORE THING TO KNOW: While many adults got their vaccinations at a pharmacy, in most states, children under age 3 may not receive a vaccine from a pharmacy. It’s best to recommend that parents call their child’s pediatrician first.  

  • If a pediatrician or healthcare provider does not offer COVID-19 vaccines, parents can:
  • Visit 
  • Text their ZIP CODE to 438829
  • Call 1-800-232-0233
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