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COVID-19 Vaccines for Children Under 5 Years of Age

July 21, 2022

In New York City, 98.3% of adults have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and that number continues to expand as more people become eligible. More than 5 million adults have completed their primary series of vaccines.

Earlier in June 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized emergency use of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines for young children starting at those who are 6 months of age. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended these same vaccines for use. This expands the population eligible for receiving COVID-19 vaccines to nearly 20 million more children in the United States. Now, the eligible population includes infants, young children, teenagers and adults.

Vaccines in all age groups have been shown to be both safe and effective in preventing severe disease and hospitalization because of COVID-19 infection. The effectiveness of all COVID vaccines has been closely evaluated and they are continuing to undergo an intensive safety monitoring process.

For children under 5 years of age, the most commonly reported side effects in those who received the vaccine are irritability, decreased appetite, fever and pain, tenderness, headache, chills, redness and swelling at the injection site. Symptoms resolve within one to two days. It should also be noted that the dosage for young children has been reduced to lessen the likelihood of side effects.

When and where should young children get vaccinated?

Children under 5 years of age should get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible.

Pfizer vaccines are offered by NYC Health + Hospitals in the pediatric practices of any hospitals within the system. If a child is 6 months to 4 years old and an NYC Health + Hospitals patient, their appointment can be scheduled by calling their pediatrician. If a child is not an NYC Health + Hospitals patient, the City’s Vaccine Finder tool can be utilized to find appointments, or call 877-VAX-4NYC (877-829-4692) for more information.

Moderna vaccines can be received at City-run sites. Appointments are recommended for these sites, but walk-ins are also accepted. Some pharmacies may offer vaccines to children 3 years and older.

Parents or guardians must consent to have their child vaccinated. Children younger than 15 years must have an adult with them when they get vaccinated.

Dosing schedule

Both available types of vaccines for children under 5 years have different doses in their primary series. Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine has three does and Moderna has two. Pfizer’s vaccine is available for children ages 6 months to 4 years, while Moderna is available to children ages 6 months to 5 years.

Primary series Age group available Number of doses Schedule
Pfizer-BioNTech
  • 6 months to 4 years
  • 3 doses
Second dose taken at least 21 days (3 weeks) after the first, and the third dose taken at least 56 days (8 weeks) after the second.
Moderna
  • 6 months to 5 years
  • 2 doses
Second dose delivered at least 28 days (4 weeks) after the first.

Children who are younger than 5 years should get the same vaccine for their second (and third if Pfizer) doses of their primary series as they received for their first dose. They will be considered fully vaccinated two weeks after either their third Pfizer dose or second Moderna dose.

Stay informed

NYC Health + Hospitals
Vaccinate Your Child

NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
COVID-19: Vaccine

New York State Department of Health
COVID-19 Vaccines for Children 6 Months and Older

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
COVID-19 Vaccinations for Children