COVID Vaccines for Kids in Summer 2023 (Part 2) – Should I Get My Child Vaccinated for COVID-19?


COVID Vaccines for Kids in Summer 2023 (Part 2)

If you read my last blog you know there have been a number of updates to the vaccine schedule for COVID-19 for children in the last year. Unfortunately, more than half of children in this country have not received any doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Should I get my child vaccinated for COVID-19? Is it safe?

Short answer? YES.

I continue to strongly recommend COVID-19 vaccines for all children as soon as they turn 6 months old, and for older children who aren’t up to date on vaccines. COVID-19 vaccines protect children from getting severely ill if they do get COVID-19. Vaccines are protective against MIS-C (multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children) – a rare but life threatening complication that develops weeks after COVID-19 infections.

In children, side effects of the vaccine were generally mild and similar to those experienced after most routine childhood vaccines – pain, swollen lymph nodes, decreased appetite, tiredness. Sometimes children can experience fever, but it’s usually mild and managed at home. While more severe reactions, including allergic reactions and myocarditis (especially in adolescent and young adult males) can occur – but these are very rare. Of course, if you have concerns about side effects you should discuss it with your pediatrician!

Is one vaccine better than the other? Which should I choose for my child?

There isn’t any compelling reason to recommend one vaccine over the other. Due to the way that vaccine studies are done it’s like comparing apples to oranges. Because the Pfizer vaccine has a lower dose, it may have a lower incidence of side effects. The downside? Younger children getting a primary series need three doses, and it takes longer to be considered “up to date”. If you are worried about side effects, and don’t mind making an extra trip for the third dose if your child is 4 or under, it might be a good option for your family.

I think it’s also a good option for 5 year olds, as they only have to get one Pfizer dose to be considered up to date. 5 year olds still need a primary series if they get Moderna, which means two doses – and I’ve yet to meet a 5 year old who likes to get shots! The Moderna vaccine, on the other hand, might be a good option if you’re trying to get a young infant up to date as quickly as possible prior to starting daycare or for travel, or if you’d rather prioritize minimizing the number of shots your child receives. But don’t get too lost in the weeds on the differences between these two vaccines – both are effective and safe – the most important thing is to make sure your child is up to date on their COVID-19 vaccine!

Dr. Elizabeth Cilenti

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