All children age 6 months and older should be vaccinated against COVID-19 with at least one dose of an updated (2023–2024) formulation vaccine. COVID-19 vaccination of children in this age group has been demonstrated to be safe and to prevent hospitalization and severe complications of COVID-19 illness. Both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna mRNA products are authorized for use in children down to 6 months of age. Novavax adjuvanted protein subunit vaccine is authorized for use beginning at age 12 years.
Most children younger than age 5 years initially require a primary series of two (Moderna) or three (Pfizer-BioNTech) doses of the same brand. The primary series may include doses of previously authorized formulations. CDC recommends use of the same brand (referred to as homologous doses) for all recommended doses given to children younger than age 5 years. If it is not possible to administer a homologous dose (the brand is unavailable at the time and location of the vaccination visit, the brand of a previous dose is unknown, the child would not be vaccinated with the homologous dose due to a contraindication or other reason), then administer the age-appropriate formulation of the available brand. A 3-dose primary series is required for all children and adults who have moderate or severe immunocompromise. Refer to CDC’s interim schedule for details: www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/downloads/COVID-19-immunization-schedule-ages-6months-older.pdf.
CDC has also prepared infographics to make it easier to determine exactly what vaccination is due for each patient, based upon the patient’s age, vaccination history, and immunocompromised status. For most children younger than age 12 years, see this CDC infographic: www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/downloads/COVID19-vaccination-recommendations-most-people.pdf.
For children younger than 12 years who are moderately or severely immunocompromised, see this CDC infographic: www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/downloads/COVID19-vaccination-recommendations-immunocompromised.pdf.