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COVID-19 Vaccines for Children

Since the CDC recommendation on November 2, 2021, COVID-19 vaccines are now available for individuals age 5 and older. This page contains resources to help community organizations, extracurricular activities, and schools make the vaccines and vaccine information available to children and families in the community.

About the Pediatric Vaccine

The pediatric vaccine is safe, and it is highly effective at protecting children against COVID-19-related illness, hospitalization, and death. Vaccinating children against COVID-19 is the best way to keep families and communities healthy and schools safe. The CDC recommendation comes after thorough evaluations by the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) as well as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

As of November 2, 2021:

  • Children ages 5 through 11 may only receive the Pfizer-BioNTech 5-11-year-old vaccine
  • Children ages 12 through 17 may only receive the Pfizer-BioNTech 12+ vaccine
  • Adults age 18 and older may receive the Pfizer-BioNTech 12+ vaccine, Moderna vaccine, or Janssen vaccine
    • Many adults, including school staff, who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least 6 months ago, or the Janssen vaccine at least 2 months ago, are also eligible for a booster

Like the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for individuals age 12 and older, the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 through 11 is administered as a two-dose series, with the second dose coming 3 weeks after the first. A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for 5 through 11-year-olds contains one-third the amount of active ingredient compared to the dose for ages 12 and older.

We encourage parents to speak with their child(ren)'s primary care provider to address eligibility, questions, and/or concerns regarding getting their child vaccinated.

Providing Vaccine Education for Your Community

The Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Department of Community & Economic Development have created a number of resources to help you share accurate vaccine information with children and families regarding the COVID-19 vaccines.

Hosting a Vaccine Clinic for Your Community

We highly encourage trusted community organizations, extracurricular activities, or school districts to consider working with a local health provider to host a vaccine clinic, whether at your organization or at a nearby location. The clinics could be for children, adults, or both. The vaccine would be completely optional, and children would need their parents' consent.

Four simple steps to host a COVID-19 clinic that is completely voluntary to participants:

  1. Reach out to a local health provider and start the conversation. Ask if they will partner with you to host a 1-day clinic at your community organization, extracurricular activity, school, or another convenient location nearby. It can be any local doctor's office, hospital, pharmacy, or health provider enrolled as a COVID-19 vaccine provider
  2. Choose a date and time. The sooner the clinic, the more families will benefit. Plan to schedule a second clinic for the second dose of the vaccine (for Pfizer, 3 weeks after the first clinic).
  3. Provide parent consent forms and collect interest. The provider can provide templates.
  4. Let the health provider take care of the rest! There is no need for your organization to coordinate the actual administrations, storage of the vaccine, or other medical procedures.

For help finding a COVID-19 vaccine provider near your organization, see vaccines.gov. If you need assistance finding and contacting a health provider willing to support your organization, you can fill out this form and the Department of Health will help make an introduction.

The CDC also provides additional planning resources for hosting vaccine clinics.

Planning for Vaccine Absences

Schools should consider marking a student with an excused absence from class for both the vaccination and any recovery of side effects after the vaccination. A school-organized vaccine clinic may help reduce the number of individual absences from class.

For any further questions, you can contact the Pennsylvania Department of Health at RA-DHCOVIDVAX@pa.gov.