COVID-19 Vaccinations for Children Under 5

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 Vaccines Authorized for Emergency Use

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has endorsed recommendations that all children 6 months through 5 years should receive a COVID-19 vaccine. This announcement follows the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authorization of the pediatric vaccine. The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup has also approved these recommendations. With this authorization, approximately 27,900 children under the age of 5 are now eligible to be vaccinated in Santa Barbara County. All children, including children who have already had COVID-19, should get vaccinated. 

Vaccines are available locally. Parents/caregivers should check in with their children’s pediatrician about vaccine availability and can also visit and to see where vaccines for children are available. Children in this younger age group can be vaccinated with whichever vaccine is available, either Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech.

Children under 5 years of age may receive one-tenth of the adult dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in a 3-shot series. Alternatively, children 5 years of age and younger may receive one-quarter of the adult dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in a 2-shot series. Smaller needles, designed specifically for children, are used for this age group. COVID-19 vaccine dosage does not vary by patient weight but by age on the day of vaccination.

According to the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, since March 2020 approximately 2,000,000 cases of COVID-19 have occurred among those less than 5 years of age in the U.S, resulting in approximately 20,000 hospitalizations and approximately 200 deaths, and that there have been a disproportionate number of COVID-19-related hospitalizations and deaths among African-American, Hispanic-Latino and Native American children in this age group. Completion of either vaccine series produced antibody levels similar to those achieved in individuals ages 18 -25 years for Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and 16- 24 years for Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, respectively. Observed vaccine reactions among infants ages 6-12 months and children ages 1 through 5 years were consistent with reactions to other vaccines routinely recommended for use in these age groups.

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