Both vaccines have been demonstrated to be safe, with side effects typical of those in older age groups. The most common local reaction in this age group is pain at the injection site; the most common systemic symptom in older children was fatigue and in younger children (6 through 23 months) irritability/crying and sleepiness were most common. Fever may occur after either vaccination. Febrile seizures can occur in infants and young children ages 6 months through 5 years as a result of any condition that causes a fever (most common with high fevers). Febrile seizures are uncommon after vaccination. Febrile seizures were rare after mRNA COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials in this age group, and CDC continues to monitor for this adverse event following vaccination in infants and young children.
No cases of myocarditis were reported during the clinical trials for either vaccine. To date, post-authorization surveillance has not detected an increased risk for myocarditis and pericarditis following mRNA COVID-19 vaccination in children ages 6 months–4 years (Pfizer-BioNTech) and ages 6 months–5 years (Moderna).