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. Children who have received all recommended COVID-19 shots, including any booster dose(s) when eligible, do not have to stay home (quarantine) if they are exposed to someone who has COVID-19. They also do not have to get tested as often.
arrow-right Children age 5 years and older are now eligible to get vaccinated!
For parents with children age 5-11 years.
Children age 5-11 years old should get the Pfizer vaccine for 5-11 year olds. This is the only vaccine authorized for children age 5-11 at this time.
The Pfizer vaccine for children age 5-11 is a smaller dose of vaccine than the Pfizer vaccine for people age 12 and older.
The Pfizer vaccine for children age 5-11 is packaged differently, so you will need to go to a vaccine location that has this vaccine.
Your child will need two doses of this vaccine—this is called the primary series. They should get the second dose 3 weeks after the first dose, and 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.
Booster doses are not recommended for 5-11 year olds at this time, but may be in the future.
For parents with children age 12-17 years.
Children age 12-17 years should get the Pfizer vaccine for people age 12 and older.
Your child will need two doses of this vaccine—this is called the primary series. They should get the second dose 3-8 weeks after the first dose. 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 may need an additional dose as part of their primary series. Talk to your child’s health care provider.
Your child is also recommended to get a booster dose 5 months after they have completed their primary series.
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 5-11 years:
The vaccines for children and teens were found to be safe and getting two doses of the vaccine provided very good protection from COVID-19.
The Pfizer vaccine for 5-11 year olds was determined to be 90.7% effective against symptomatic COVID-19 disease. This is similar to the effectiveness for people age 12 and older.
Common mild side effects were found less in the 5-11 year-olds in the trial compared to 16-25 year-olds.
The clinical trials for the Pfizer vaccine for 5-11 year olds 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).
The Pfizer vaccine that children age 5-11 receive is a smaller dose to meet the unique needs of younger children.
If you have questions about vaccines, your pediatrician or family physician can be an excellent source of information.
Minnesota has more than 500 providers who are able to give COVID-19 vaccines to children and teens. This includes pediatricians, pharmacies, state-run community clinics, schools, 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. The Pfizer vaccine for 5-11 year olds is a smaller dose for this age group, so it is packaged in separate vials.
To get your child vaccinated, you can:
Check with your child’s regular health care provider, such as their pediatrician or your family physician.
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 children 5-17 years of age, 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 when your child gets their second dose. 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.
Getting your child vaccinated is the best way to protect them and the people around them, including vulnerable family members, friends, and neighbors.
Children who have received all recommended COVID-19 shots, including any booster dose(s) when eligible do not have to stay home (quarantine) if they are exposed to someone who has COVID-19. They also do not have to get tested as often.
Getting your child vaccinated helps them stay safe during school, sports, and other social activities. It also helps them stay in school or childcare.
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 more than 143,819 pediatric cases and more than 953 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, about 100 Minnesotan 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.