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Ask the Pediatrician: Which COVID-19 vaccine is best for children who are almost 12?

Dr. James D. Campbell, American Academy of Pediatrics on

Published in Health & Fitness

Q: My daughter is about to turn 12. Which COVID-19 vaccine should she get?

A: The short answer: Your child should get the vaccine product that is recommended for their age.

Right now, the only COVID-19 vaccine available for children in the U.S. is the Pfizer BioNTech mRNA vaccine. COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for children 5 years and older. The COVID shot for kids 5 years to 11 years of age is a lower dose than the dose recommended for those 12 and older.

The Food and Drug Administration authorized the Pfizer vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention then recommended the vaccine for this age group.

You may wonder why it's important to get the lower dose for younger kids. The reason is the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 was tested at the lower dose. This lower dose is what has been authorized and recommended.

Here are the doses of the Pfizer BioNTech mRNA vaccine, by age:

 

— 12 through 17 years: 30-microgram COVID-19 vaccine, two separate doses, given 21 days apart.

— 5 through 11 years: 10-microgram COVID-19 vaccine, two separate doses, given 21 days apart.

— Under 5 years: A COVID-19 vaccine is not yet available and the doses have not been determined.

Your child's doctor only can use the lower dose when they give the vaccine to 5- to 11-year-olds. The main reason is to make sure your child gets exactly the amount they need. The safest way for doctors to give your child the lower dose is to use the vials that are being specifically designed for younger children.

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