Updated Nov. 9, 2023

COVID-19 Vaccination Recommended for Everyone 6 Months and Older

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 5 years and older get an updated COVID-19 vaccine. Children ages 6 months to 4 years will need multiple doses of COVID-19 vaccine to be up to date, including at least one dose of updated COVID-19 vaccine.

Illustrated girl with a CDC Sticker


While the vaccines used are the same, the size of the dose for children is smaller than the doses that teens and adults receive. Dosage is based on age on the day of vaccination, not on weight. The vaccines come in a different vial with different packaging.

See recommendations and find information for children here.

Children and Teens Who Are Moderately or Severely Immunocompromised

Children and teens ages 6 months and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised need to get additional doses of vaccine. For information about these age groups, please see COVID-19 Vaccines for People Who Are Moderately or Severely Immunocompromised on the CDC website.

Getting Your Child Vaccinated

Illustrated doctor's office with medical provider, mother and child.

Before Vaccination

Your child may experience side effects after the vaccine that are similar to what adults experience. Make sure to talk with them about it beforehand so they know what to expect. See these tips for supporting your child before, during and after shots:

  • It is not recommended that you give your child pain relievers prior to vaccination as a way to prevent side effects.
  • Tell the person administering the vaccine about any allergies your child has.
  • Children should be seated or lying down during vaccination.
  • Your child’s provider may recommend staying for 15-30 minutes after vaccination to prevent fainting or related injuries and to observe your child in case they have an allergic reaction
  • Make sure you receive a copy of your child’s vaccination card before leaving the appointment.


Make sure to check with the clinic first regarding vaccination policies for children under 15 years of age, including what is required in terms of documentation of a parent or legal guardian’s consent. See “Can kids and teens get the vaccine?” in our FAQ.

Timing with Other Vaccines

The COVID-19 vaccine can be given at the same time as other childhood vaccines or seasonal vaccines like the flu vaccine.

After Vaccination

Your child may or may not experience some side effects after receiving the vaccine. Children older than 4 are more likely to experience side effects after receiving additional doses. Talk to your child’s provider about what steps you can take at home to lessen symptoms, including providing a non-aspirin pain reliever. A cool, damp cloth on the injection site can help with pain. The vaccines’ side effects are similar to other vaccine and may include the following:

  • Sore arm with pain, redness or swelling where the shot was given
  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Children under 3 years may experience:

  • Pain where the shot was given
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Irritability or crying
  • Sleepiness
  • Loss of appetite

These side effects should go away within a few days.

Does Your Child Have Questions About Getting Vaccinated?

Just like adults, children have questions about getting their COVID-19 vaccine too. Watch this kid-safe video series with your child for answers to some of those questions. In it, Health Officer Dr. Francisco Velázquez answers kids’ questions about the vaccine and getting their shot.