When Will My Child Be Able to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?

December 22, 2020

Clinical Contributors to this Story

Sejal Bhavsar, M.D. contributes to topics such as Pediatric Infectious Diseases.

Updated: 5/10/2021

With COVID-19 vaccines continuing to roll out across the country, many parents are starting to wonder if and when it is safe to vaccinate their child.

“In the first wave of COVID-19, we saw more adults being affected by the virus, but children are certainly not immune. The numbers of children with both acute COVID-19 respiratory infection as well as related Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) have increased the past several months ,” says Sejal Bhavsar, M.D., pediatric infectious disease specialist at Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center.

Has the COVID-19 vaccine been studied in kids?

Early clinical trials largely focused on adult participants. Now, researchers are studying the vaccine in younger children. Pfizer-BioNTech recently completed a vaccination trial on patients aged 12-15 and found the younger group’s immune response was “as good as” the immune response of older participants. Both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are currently studying the vaccine in children as young as six months old.

Who can get a vaccine now?

Vaccines are now available to all those age 12 and older. The FDA has updated its emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to include people aged 12 and older. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson Janssen COVID-19 vaccines have been authorized for people aged 18 and older.

When can my younger child get the vaccine?

An approved vaccine for kids younger than 12 will likely not be available for several months. “Vaccination trials for children are essential to best understand any potential unique immune responses and/or safety concerns in that population,” says Dr. Bhavsar. “We also need to ensure that the vaccine doses are safe, tolerable and effective in younger children.”

What should I do for my child while we wait for a vaccine?

Parents should be vaccinated against COVID-19, both to protect themselves and their children. Everyone should continue to wear masks and practice social distancing and handwashing to model best behavior for their children that are too young to get the currently available vaccines.

It is important not to delay medical care and continue with regular pediatrician and specialist appointments, including well-visits to keep on-track with routine vaccinations. In case of emergency, be sure to visit a pediatric emergency room so that any medical concerns do not escalate and become dangerous.

Next Steps & Resources:

Sources:

FDA Emergency Use Authorization Update

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.