The COVID-19 vaccines have gone through the same testing and analysis that is used for all vaccines to make sure they’re safe and effective for children. They're being made available based on guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH).

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Can children get vaccinated against COVID-19?

  • Yes. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for emergency use for children ages 6 months and older.  
  • Parents who would like to get their children vaccinated through UI Health Care can do so by scheduling a vaccination through MyChart or by visiting uihc.org/covid-vaccine.  
  • If your child has an upcoming visit already scheduled at UI Health Care–Iowa River Landing, your provider may discuss getting your child vaccinated during your visit. 

Parents who would like to get their children vaccinated through UI Health Care can do so by:

Scheduling a vaccination through MyChart or Schedule online at uihc.org

If your child has an upcoming visit already scheduled at UI Health Care–Iowa River Landing, your provider may discuss getting your child vaccinated during your visit.

Are children recommended to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes. Our pediatricians and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that children be vaccinated against COVID-19 when they are eligible (currently ages 6 months and older) to help protect themselves from severe illness and as an important step in ending the pandemic. Children can get COVID-19 just like adults. While oftentimes children with COVID-19 may not end up getting as sick as adults with COVID-19 might, they are still at risk for severe illness and can spread the virus to other children, as well as adults who may experience severe illness.  

If you have questions or concerns about vaccinating your child, please talk with your child’s pediatrician or primary care provider.  

How do we know the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for children?

Like other drugs and biologics, vaccines released in the U.S. must go through multiple phases of rigorous testing, analysis, and review as they are developed. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) closely monitors the vaccine development process and testing results for efficacy and safety. As part of the FDA’s formal process to determine if the vaccine is authorized for public use, it also seeks a recommendation from a multidisciplinary team of experts consisting of independent medical officers, microbiologists, chemists, biostatisticians, and other health experts. If authorized, the FDA continues to oversee the vaccine and its manufacturing to monitor ongoing safety. The COVID-19 vaccine has undergone all of the steps described here. 

Although the speed at which the COVID-19 vaccine was developed was faster than most vaccine development processes, COVID-19 vaccines are still required to go through the proper testing and analysis to make sure they are safe—no step in the process has been skipped.  

Clinical trials were conducted with children ages 6 months to 17 years, just like the adult clinical trials, to test the effectiveness of this COVID-19 vaccine. 

Why do children need to be vaccinated against COVID-19?

Children can get COVID-19 just like adults. While oftentimes children with COVID-19 may not end up as getting sick as adults with COVID-19 might, they are still at risk for severe illness and can spread the virus to other children, as well as adults who may experience severe illness. Vaccinating children is safe and effective for your child and your family and is an important step to returning to normal things like in-person learning, sports, and activities.  

Will the dosage of the vaccine given to children be the same as adults?

The dosage administered of both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines vary depending on the age of the child receiving the vaccine. Younger children receive lower doses in comparison to older children and adults.  

What side effects from the vaccine can I expect for my child?

Children receiving the vaccine may experience the same side effects as an adult would. Common side effects include a sore arm, fatigue, headache, fever, or chills lasting up to around 48 hours after vaccination. These side effects are normal and show that the body is mounting a response to the vaccine, which helps your child’s body to protect itself against the COVID-19 virus. Some patients may not experience these side effects, but the vaccine is working. 

Will the vaccine impact my child’s development?

No. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine get vaccinated as soon as they are able. Clinical trials show that this vaccine is safe and effective for children. 

Can any of the vaccines give my child COVID-19?

No. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. These vaccines give your child’s cells instructions for how to make a harmless protein that is unique to the virus, which then teaches their body how to fight the virus that causes COVID-19 if they are exposed in the future. COVID-19 vaccines do not contain the virus, so they can’t give your child COVID-19.   

Does an mRNA vaccine change my child’s DNA or genetic code?

No. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. The messenger RNA contained in the COVID-19 vaccine cannot integrate into your child’s DNA or their human genes and is broken down very quickly once it's exposed in the body. The COVID-19 vaccines cannot change your child’s DNA.  Learn more about mRNA vaccines

Is it safe to receive the COVID-19 vaccine with other vaccines, like flu? 

Yes, if a patient is eligible, both flu and COVID-19 vaccines can be administered at the same visit. In addition to flu vaccine, the COVID-19 vaccine can be given at the same time as other vaccines as well. 

Is your child scared of needles?

Helping your child with a needle stick

Are children eligible to receive boosters of the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have authorized Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster vaccines for children aged 5-17 years, to be administered 5 months or more after their initial vaccine series.

Learn more about COVID-19 boosters

Do children who are immunocompromised need an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine like adults do?

Yes. An additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine has been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for those individuals ages 6 months and older who are moderately to severely immunocompromised. This includes people who have:  

  • Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors, or cancers of the blood 
  • Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system 
  • Received a stem cell transplant within the last two years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system 
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome) 
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection 
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response 

If you are unsure if you or your child are eligible for an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at this time or have concerns about the effectiveness of the vaccine you received, please contact your pediatrician or primary care provider. 

Should immunocompromised children who received an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine get a booster?

Yes. Children aged 5-11 years who are moderately to severely immunocompromised are eligible for a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster, to be administered 3 months after their third primary dose of the vaccine. Children aged 12 years and older who are moderately to severely immunocompromised are also eligible for a second Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster, to be administered at least 4 months after their first booster dose. 

Learn more about additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccine

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