Questions about the COVID vaccine for kids? Swedish has some answers for you.

October 20, 2022 Swedish Health Team

a young girl wearing a face mask gives a thumbs up after receiving a vaccine


In this article: 

  • COVID-19 vaccines for children starting at 6 months have been recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Pediatric doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Novavax vaccines have been approved for use under the Emergency Use Authorization. 

  • Vaccinating our kids will prevent hundreds of thousands of cases of COVID-19 in the coming months.

  • You can get your child vaccinated at Swedish and other affiliated clinics.

November 2, 2022 update; On July 19, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices made an interim recommendation for the use of the Novavax vaccine for children under 18 as a primary two-dose vaccination series. The recommendation is in response to the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization for the vaccine on July 13.

Much to the relief of millions of parents and guardians around the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released its guidance for COVID-19 vaccinations for children 6 months and older.

This is a major step in getting us back to our families, our lives and the simple joys in life like hugging grandma and grandpa and our favorite aunts and uncles. The rising immunity that comes with increased vaccinations among kids is helpful in many ways, including reducing the virus’s spread to vulnerable family and community members. Vaccinating our young kids and infants will also help keep any winter surge from becoming catastrophic, with an uptick in cases expected to accompany increased indoor gatherings, holiday celebrations and a busy travel season.

The CDC’s go-ahead for vaccinating kids is a major landmark in protecting everyone as we move back into normal life and to the people and things we love. Experts say vaccinating kids under 12 will help prevent about 600,000 new COVID-19 cases in the coming months. Vaccines for children will also be a boon to public health by re-invigorating routine immunization programs, which have stalled with COVID restrictions. Our young children also benefit emotionally as vaccines help keep them in school with friends and able to participate in sports and other social activities.   

We understand that additional questions come with all this new information. To help you make the most educated decision possible for your family, we asked Swedish pediatrician John Hawes, M.D., to answer some important questions about the CDC’s new guidance for kids and the COVID-19 vaccine.

Should my child get vaccinated?

Yes. Public health experts, including leading doctors’ groups, agree that kids should get vaccinated to protect their families and themselves. Nearly two million children ages 5 to 11 in the U.S. are known to have been infected with COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. And even though adults are at risk for more severe infections, over 8,000 kids have been hospitalized with COVID-19, with a third of those children requiring treatment in intensive care. 173 kids in the age group have died from COVID-19.

Will my child receive the same dose as an adult?

Infants and children up to age 11 will receive a smaller dose; kids ages 12 and older get the same dose as adults. Additionally, the CDC says children should get the dose that’s right for their age on the day of vaccination; so, if your child is 11 on the day of their vaccination, they would receive a child’s dose.

My child will be 12 soon, should I wait to get them vaccinated?

No. Pediatricians say that the kid-sized dose is effective for the age group.  

Which vaccine should my child receive?

Pediatric doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Novavax vaccines have been approved for use in children under the Emergency Use Authorization. 

What are some potential side effects my child may experience?

Some kids may experience sore arms and fatigue, just like the potential side effects for adults. Young kids are less likely to have fevers, which is a good thing. There has been a rare reaction of heart inflammation — again, this is very rare — which has occurred mostly in young men and teen boys and usually after the second vaccine dose. The good news is that they tend to recover very quickly. It’s also important to keep in mind that doctors say a COVID-19 infection can cause a host of short- and long-term health complications in kids, including a more serious heart inflammation and multi-inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C), a condition where different body parts become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain and gastrointestinal organs.  

Will I have to pay for the vaccine?

No. Just like the adult COVID-19 vaccine, the vaccine is free of charge for kids.

Where can I get my child vaccinated?

At this time, Swedish has limited pediatric vaccine availability. Please contact your primary care office to schedule at select locations.

If you are unable to schedule an appointment with us, you can find vaccination appointments at Washington Department of Health’s Vaccine Locator, visit your local pharmacy or check with your child’s local school district.

Visit for more information on locations, hours of operation and eligibility — and help spread the word to your friends and family. Continue to visit the Swedish blog to learn more and stay updated.

As with any medical decision, it’s vital that you speak with your doctor to make the best decision for your child and your family.

Find a doctor

If you have questions about vaccines for children, visit our COVID-19 vaccine updates page or contact Pediatrics at Swedish. We can accommodate both in-person and virtual visits.

Whether you require an in-person visit or want to consult a doctor virtually, you have options. Swedish Virtual Care connects you face-to-face with a nurse practitioner who can review your symptoms, provide instruction and follow up as needed. If you need to find a doctor, you can use our provider directory.

Join our Patient and Family Advisory Council

Additional resources

Keep kids healthy, safe with recommended vaccines

Keeping kids safe at school during COVID-19

People ages 12+ now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine

Promoting resilience in young children: five tips for parents

CDC Covid Data Tracker

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional’s instructions. 

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