COVID-19 Vaccine Available for Children Ages 5 to 11

On Oct. 29, the Food and Drug Administration authorized the emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 in children 5 through 11 years of age. On Nov. 2, the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a recommendation that all children 5 through 11 years of age, regardless of risk factors, be vaccinated against COVID-19 with the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine. 

Starting Nov. 4, all UTMB primary care locations that serve children—including pediatric clinics, family medicine clinics and urgent cares—will begin offering the vaccine, as a two-dose series at least three weeks apart. The vaccine can be administered during routine pediatric vaccination visits or can be scheduled online: https://www.utmb.edu/covid-19/patients#vaccine.

The pediatric vaccine formulation contains one third of the adult formulation. For children who are close to age 12 when they get their first dose, a four-day grace period around their birthday is allowed to determine which dose is needed. Children who are 11 when they start the series should get another pediatric 10-microgram dose, even if they have turned 12 when they are due for their second dose.

Pediatric clinical trials showed that the vaccine was nearly 91% effective in preventing COVID-19 among children ages 5 to 11—similar to the effectiveness seen in adult vaccine trials. In pediatric clinical trials, vaccine side effects were mild, self-limiting and similar to those seen in adults and to side effects of other vaccines recommended for children. The most common side effect was a sore arm. 

The CDC’s new recommendation expands the COVID-19 vaccine to nearly 28 million children across the United States in this age group, marking an important step forward in our nation’s fight against the virus. Vaccinating children will help protect them from getting COVID-19 and therefore reduce their risk of severe disease, hospitalization and development of long-term COVID-19 complications. Vaccination can also help reduce disruptions to in-person learning and activities by helping to curb community transmission. 

Additional information regarding the pediatric vaccine:

  • Written parental/guardian consent is required for vaccination of children in this age group. The parent or guardian does not need to be present during the child’s vaccination if written consent has been provided within the past 12 months and is on file with UTMB.
  • All COVID-19 vaccines may be co-administered with other vaccines, including a seasonal influenza vaccine, without any waiting period. 
  • Please consider enrolling in V-safe—CDC’s tool that provides health check-ins after someone receives a COVID-19 vaccine.

Download information for recipients and caregivers

Photo of Pfizer COVID Vaccine bottle