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What parents need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine for their children

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For too long, COVID-19 has kept children from doing the things they love. The best way to keep your child healthy and safe is to get them vaccinated. Getting your child vaccinated helps keep them in school, sports, childcare, and other activities.

COVID-19 Vaccines: What teens should know

COVID-19 Vaccines and Kids: What Pediatricians Are Saying

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Who should get vaccinated

arrow-right Children age 6 months and older are now eligible to get vaccinated!

For parents with children age 6 months to 5 years.


  • Children age 6 months to 5 years should get either the Pfizer vaccine or Moderna vaccine for this age group. 
  • The vaccines for this age group are a smaller dose than the vaccines for older children and adults.  
  • The vaccines for these children are packaged differently, so you will need to go to a location that has the vaccine that is right for your child based on their age.  
  • Your child will need multiple doses of this vaccine — this is called the primary vaccine series. 
    • The Pfizer vaccine for this age group is three doses. You can get the second dose 3-8 weeks after the first dose and your third dose 8 weeks after the second dose. Your provider can help you schedule your second and third shot while getting your first.  
    • The Moderna vaccine for this age group is two doses. You can get the second dose 4-8 weeks after the first dose. Your provider can help you schedule your second shot while getting your first.
    • Children with a weakened immune system may need an additional dose as a part of their primary series. Talk to your child’s health care provider. 
    • Talk to your provider if you have questions about either type of vaccine or which vaccine is right for your child.



For parents with children age 5 to 11 years.

  • Children age 5- to 11-years-old should get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for their age.
  • These vaccines are smaller doses than the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for older children and adults.  
  • The vaccines for these children are packaged differently, so you will need to go to a location that has the vaccine that is right for your child based on their age.  
  • Your child will need two doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine —this is called the primary vaccine series. Your provider can help you schedule your second shot while getting your first. It is important to get both doses of vaccine for the best protection.  
    • Children with a weakened immune system may need an additional dose as a part of their primary series. Talk to your child’s health care provider. 
  • Children age 5- to 11-years-old are also recommended to get an updated (bivalent) booster dose at least 2 months after they have completed their primary series.



For parents with children age 12-17 years.


  • Children age 12-17 years should get the Pfizer, Moderna, or Novavax vaccine. 
  • Your child will need two doses of this vaccine—this is called the primary vaccine series. Your provider will let you know what timing is recommended for your child and can help you schedule your second shot while getting your first. It is important to get both doses of vaccine for the best protection. 
    • Children with a weakened immune system who received Pfizer or Moderna may need an additional dose as part of their primary series. Talk to your child’s health care provider.
  • Children age 12- to 17-years are also recommended to get an updated booster dose at least 2 months after they have completed their primary series.

For more information on COVID-19 vaccines your child is recommended to get, see CDC: Stay Up to Date with Your COVID-19 Vaccines.

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How we know the COVID-19 vaccines are safe for children


  • Vaccine safety is the most important. Scientists always want to be sure that the benefits of getting vaccinated outweigh any possible risk. 
  • The vaccines were carefully studied before they were recommended to be given to children and teens. 
  • This process is called a clinical trial and all authorized vaccines have gone through it. Only vaccines shown to be safe and effective are authorized to be used.
  • In the clinical trials for children ages 6 months to 11 years:
    • The vaccines for children and teens were found to be safe.
    • Common mild side effects were found less in the 5-11 year-olds in the trial compared to 16-25 year-olds. For younger children, common side effects included injection site pain, tiredness, and fever. 
    • The clinical trials did not have any reports of these rare side effects: myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle), pericarditis (inflammation of the lining outside the heart), or anaphylaxis (an allergic reaction).  
  • If you have questions about vaccines, your pediatrician or family physician can be an excellent source of information.
  • You can also get more information from: 

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Where to get your child vaccinated


Minnesota has hundreds of providers who are able to give COVID-19 vaccines to children and teens. This includes pediatricians, pharmacies, state-run community clinics, local public health agencies, tribal health agencies, and more. The large network of providers will help meet parents and families where they are and allow vaccine to be provided quickly and equitably.

Check to make sure the vaccination location you are going to has the vaccine available that your child needs.

To get your child vaccinated, you can:

  • Check with your child’s regular health care provider, such as their pediatrician or your family physician.
  • Search for a vaccination location near you on Minnesota’s Find Vaccine Locations map.
  • Make an appointment with your local pharmacy and search for more information on pharmacy locations on Vaccines.gov.
  • Watch for vaccination clinics being offered at other community locations around Minnesota.

 

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What to expect when your child or teen gets vaccinated



  • COVID-19 vaccines are free and you do not have to show an ID to get your child vaccinated. 
  • You may be asked for insurance information, but you can still get your child vaccinated for free if you do not have insurance. You will not be turned away if you do not have insurance. If you have insurance, you should provide that information when you get your child vaccinated.
  • Parental or guardian consent is required for COVID-19 vaccination of people 17 years of age and younger, except under rare or special circumstances. Check with the clinic where your child is getting vaccinated to see if a parent or guardian must also be present at the vaccination appointment. When possible, we encourage you to go with your child so you can ask questions and learn more about the vaccine. 
    • NOTE: For state-run vaccine clinics, children age 15 and under must have a parent or guardian with them.
  • At your child’s first vaccination appointment, they will receive a CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record card. The card will contain the vaccine your child received and the date. Keep this card and bring it with you to record all additional doses your child needs. Make sure to take a picture of the card in case you lose it. If you do lose it, go to Find My Immunization Record for options to get your child’s immunization record. 
  • Your child may have some side effects after vaccination, which are normal signs that their body is building protection against the virus. It is OK if they do not have side effects. In fact, data is showing that side effects are less common in children age 5-11 years old compared to older children/adults. 
    • Side effects are usually mild and go away after a couple of days. Side effects can include pain, redness, or swelling where they got the shot; tiredness; headache; muscle pain; chills; fever; or nausea. To learn more, speak to your provider or visit Minnesota Department of Health: About COVID-19 Vaccine.

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Why it is important to get your child vaccinated

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  • Getting your child vaccinated is the best way to protect them and the people around them, including vulnerable family members, friends, and neighbors.
  • Getting your child vaccinated helps them stay safe during school and other social activities. 
  • Children may still get severe effects of COVID-19, and common conditions like asthma and obesity can put kids at an even greater risk of severe illness. 
  • In 2021, there were almost 144,000 pediatric cases and almost 1,000 child hospitalizations related to COVID-19 in Minnesota. Serious cases can even occur in healthy children. About 25% of COVID-19 pediatric deaths nationally have occurred in healthy children.
  • We are still learning more about COVID-19, but we know it can have some long-term health consequences. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 200 Minnesota children have been diagnosed with Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). MIS-C is a rare but serious syndrome that causes fever and inflammation and usually needs to be treated in a hospital and recovery often takes months after the initial infection is gone. 

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Find a child or teen vaccine

 













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