COVID-19 Vaccine—now authorized for kids 6+ months.
Tested. Safe. Effective.
From the moment you met them, you knew it was your job to protect them. And being a parent during COVID has made this especially hard. The great news is that kids 6 months and older can now receive a COVID-19 vaccine—and that’s a huge relief. Click here to find a vaccination site near you.
We know you have questions, here are a few facts:
- The COVID-19 vaccine is now authorized and available for children 6 months and older. It can be administered with other immunizations at your child’s pediatrician visit or can be at walk-in community vaccination clinics.
- Just like other childhood vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccine has now been tested and proven safe and effective for anyone 6 months and older.
- The COVID-19 vaccines are the best way to keep your whole family safe from severe illness, hospitalization, and death.
- Your child’s pediatrician is the best person for you to talk with about your concerns and questions.
Getting your child immunized helps make life more predictable and means they don’t have to miss another moment in their big, little lives. Get the facts. Talk with your family’s healthcare provider today.
Hold up. I’m not sure…
When it comes to our kids, COVID-19 has raised a number of valid questions – you’ll find answers below.
Where is the vaccine for this age group available?
Vaccines will be available at doctors’ offices across Maine, as well as at pharmacies (for those 3 years and older), Federally Qualified Health Centers, and community vaccination events. You can find locations vaccinating this age group at this link. More locations will be added as they come online.
Are these vaccines safe for babies and toddlers? Are there side effects?
These vaccines are safe. Before recommending COVID-19 vaccination for children, scientists conducted clinical trials with thousands of children to establish both the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines.
Millions of children and teens ages 5 through 17 years have received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Ongoing safety monitoring shows that the known risks and possible severe complications of COVID-19 outweigh the potential risks of having a rare, adverse reaction to vaccination.
Reported side effects tend to be mild, temporary, and like those experienced after routine vaccination. They include fever, chills, feeling tired, and having some pain at the injection site. Some children experience more side effects after the second dose of vaccination. Some experience no side effects, at all.
Serious reactions after COVID-19 vaccination in children are rare. When they are reported, serious reactions most frequently occur within a few days after vaccination.
Why should I get my baby/toddler/preschooler vaccinated?
Between March 2020 and April 2022, COVID-19 was a leading cause of death in children between 1 and 4 years old, according to the U.S. CDC. Children who get COVID-19 can get very sick, can require treatment in a hospital, and in rare situations, can even die. After getting COVID-19, children and teens can also experience a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems. It is unclear what the impact of long COVID will be in children. Getting eligible children vaccinated can help prevent them from getting really sick even if they do get infected and help prevent serious short- and long-term complications of COVID-19.
Vaccinating children can also give parents greater confidence in their children participating in childcare, school, and other activities. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is a safer, more reliable way to build protection than getting sick with COVID-19. The known risks of COVID-19 and possible severe complications—such as long-term health problems, hospitalization, and even death—outweigh the potential risks of having a rare, adverse reaction to vaccination. The benefit of COVID-19 vaccines, like other vaccines, is that those who get vaccinated get protection without risking the potentially serious consequences of getting sick with COVID-19.
How many doses of the vaccine will my 6m – 5yr-old need?
At this time, the Pfizer vaccine is three-doses, with the first two doses spaced three weeks apart and the third dose given two months after the second dose. The Moderna vaccine is two-doses spaced four weeks apart. Children are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the last dose in the series.
Research is still underway as to whether these vaccines will require further doses/booster doses. This information will be updated as and when information changes.
If my child has already had a COVID-19 infection, should they get vaccinated?
Yes, it is still recommended that children get vaccinated even if they have had a previous COVID-19 infection. The CDC notes that 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 result.
I can’t get an appointment at my pediatrician/family doctor’s office to vaccinate my 6 month-5-year-old child. What do I do?
Some hospital systems and FQHCs will be vaccinating children who are not enrolled in their practices, it is best to call to see whether you can take your child there for a vaccination. Pharmacies can vaccinate anyone 3 years and older. Throughout the summer, vaccine clinics will be held at WIC clinics across the state and at community pop up events. Also, the York County Vaccination Center will be open and offering vaccines on a walk-in basis Tuesday/Thursday from 1PM-6PM and Saturday from 10AM-3:30PM. Check this site regularly to see where you may be able to take your child for their vaccination.
I don’t have a pediatrician or family doctor. How can I get my small child vaccinated?
Some hospital systems and FQHCs will be vaccinating children not enrolled in their practice, so it is best to call to see whether you can take your child there for a vaccination. Similarly, pharmacies can vaccinate anyone 3 years and older. Throughout the summer, vaccine clinics will be held at some WIC clinics across the state, as well. Check this site regularly to see where you may be able to take your child for their vaccination.
My child will age out of this age group partway through the vaccination series. Should I wait until they are old enough to receive the 5+ vaccine for Pfizer or the 6yr old+ vaccine for Moderna? Should I switch courses midway through?
They shouldn’t wait. U.S. CDC guidance says that you should start the vaccination process now, and then when the child turns 5 (or 6), they can get the higher dose.
Children should continue with the same type of vaccine in the series if possible. That is, if they started with the Moderna vaccine and are about to turn 6 years old, they should continue with Moderna at the 6-year-old to 17-year-old dose. Likewise, if they are about to turn 5 years old and started the Pfizer series when they were 4 years old, they should continue with the Pfizer series at the 5–11-year-old dose.
How is the vaccine for babies and toddlers different from the vaccine for older kids and adults?
The COVID-19 vaccines for children have the same active ingredients as the vaccines given to adults. However, children receive a smaller, age-appropriate dose that is the right size for them. The smaller doses were rigorously tested and found to create the needed immune response for each age group. Your child should get the vaccine made for their age group.
Can my child receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as they receive other childhood vaccines?
Yes, the COVID-19 vaccine can be administered alongside other childhood vaccines. Routine vaccination is an important preventive care service that should not be delayed, and the COVID-19 vaccine can be given alongside other routine childhood vaccines. If multiple vaccines are given at a single visit, each injection will be given in a different injection site, according to recommendations by age.
Are COVID-19 vaccines for this age group free?
Yes, COVID-19 vaccines are available for everyone 6 months and older at no cost. COVID-19 vaccines will continue to be given to all eligible people living in the United States, regardless of insurance or immigration status. While a vaccination site may ask to see your health insurance card, it is not required for your child to receive a vaccine and you will not be turned away for not having insurance.
Can the vaccines cause any fertility/development issues?
No. There is no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, can cause female or male fertility problems. There is no evidence that vaccine ingredients, including mRNA, or antibodies made following COVID-19 vaccination would cause any problems with becoming pregnant now or in the future. Similarly, there is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine affects puberty.
What ingredients are in the COVID-19 vaccines?
- Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Overview and Safety
- Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Overview and Safety
- Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine Overview and Safety
- Ingredients Included in COVID-19 Vaccines
None of the vaccines contains eggs, gelatin, latex, or preservatives. All COVID-19 vaccines are free from metals such as iron, nickel, cobalt, lithium, and rare earth alloys. They are also free from manufactured products such as microelectronics, electrodes, carbon nanotubes, or nanowire semiconductors. None of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized or approved in the United States contains any live virus.