Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccination FAQs
Many available vaccines require boosters. Booster doses help increase your child's immune response, which may decline over time. Teens age 12–17 are eligible for a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine booster 5 months after completion of their primary vaccination series. Currently, kids under age 12 are not eligible for a booster dose.
For some immunocompromised children aged 5–11 years old, CDC now recommends an additional dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to complete the primary series – a total of three doses. Learn more.
MaineHealth practices are currently giving third doses to those who need them. If your child age 5-11 years old is moderately or severely immunocompromised and you have not already been contacted, please call your MaineHealth family doctor or pediatrician for more information.
Age 12-18: Visit one of our walk-in vaccination clinics anytime within the posted hours for your first COVID-19 vaccine dose. We'll help you schedule your second dose appointment while you are there. Online scheduling is also available at some locations.
Age 5-11: MaineHealth is offering COVID-19 vaccination appointments for children aged 5-11 at some of our pediatric practices. Online scheduling is available here.
Both the Pfizer Age 12+ vaccine and the Pfizer Age 5-11 vaccine require a second dose approximately three weeks (or 21 days) after the first dose.
Kids age 5-11 who receive their first COVID-19 vaccine dose at a primary care office will need to return to the same office for their second dose.
Kids and teens who receive their first COVID-19 dose at a MaineHealth practice or walk-in vaccination clinic will need to return to the same location for their second dose. We'll help you schedule the second dose appointment during the first dose appointment.
Yes, the Pfizer vaccine is safe for children 5 and older. Clinical trials were conducted before it was authorized for emergency use by the FDA.
- The vaccine was studied in approximately 3,100 children age 5 through 11, who received the vaccine.
- No serious side effects have been detected in the ongoing study.
- Nearly half of all kids 12 - 17 years old in the U.S. have been fully vaccinated. That's more than 11 million kids who have had both of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
- The vaccines continue to be monitored very closely.
- Per CDC guidance, COVID-19 vaccines will have the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history.
The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks. Get a COVID-19 vaccine for children age 5 and older as soon as you can.
- Learn more about the process of developing, authorizing and approving COVID-19 vaccines.
- Learn more about COVID-19 vaccination for children and teens.
More About the Pfizer Age 5-11 COVID-19 Vaccine
- The vaccine has been shown to be effective against variants of COVID-19.
- The vaccine will help protect your child from severe COVID-19 infection.
- The vaccine will help prevent your child from transmitting the virus to others.
- Getting your child vaccinated will give you some reassurance over the holidays as you celebrate with friends and family.
- It’s safe and effective!
- View the fact sheet.
Like many vaccines, COVID-19 vaccines may cause mild side effects, like a sore arm, body aches, headache, a fever, or tiredness for a day or two. These are signs that your child’s immune system is responding to the vaccine and building immunity to the virus. They are not a cause for concern.
Short Term Side Effects
- On the arm where the shot is given:
- Pain, Redness, Swelling
- Throughout the rest of the body:
- Tiredness, Headache, Muscle pain, Chills, Fever, Nausea
- Your child may feel badly enough that they don’t feel like doing their normal daily activities.
- You can give your child Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Advil (ibuprofen) AFTER the shot to reduce pain or fever, unless you’ve been told by your doctor not to.
- DO NOT give your child a fever reducer or pain reliever before the shot to prevent symptoms.
Soreness of Fever
- If your child’s arm is sore, you can put a clean, cool wash cloth or covered ice pack on their arm to reduce soreness.
- Moving or exercising the arm may reduce soreness.
- If your child has a fever, they should drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated and dress lightly.
- Your child can still get the second dose even if they had these symptoms from the first shot
- You can use the V-safe health checker (vsafe.cdc.gov) to tell the CDC about any symptoms your child had after getting the COVID-19 vaccine
Serious side effects are extremely rare. The risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19 infection is much greater.
- Cases of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the outer lining of the heart) have been reported after Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination of children ages 12–17 years. These reactions are rare; in one study, the risk of myocarditis after the second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech in the week following vaccination was around 54 cases per million doses administered to males ages 12–17 years.
- A severe allergic reaction, like anaphylaxis, may happen after any vaccine, but this is rare.
- Your child will be monitored for allergic reactions after their first and second vaccine doses. Licensed clinicians will be on site to manage any adverse reactions.
There are no known risks to getting the vaccine after being infected with coronavirus. And, it is thought that people get better protection by being fully vaccinated compared with just having had COVID-19.
Occasionally, a vaccinated person may get infected with the virus or even get mild symptoms. This is called a "breakthrough infection." But, the vaccine is very good at preventing serious illness, hospitalization, and death due to COVID-19.
Learn more about what you and your child or teen can do after being fully-vaccinated.
It is a smaller dose (one third) of the same vaccine that has been approved for use in people age 12 and older. The formula has been tested specifically for children ages 5-11 years old.