Questions and Answers about Kids and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Updated June 22, 2022
Here are answers to common questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. Additional information can be found at NortonChildrens.com/COVID-19 and in these recent Get Healthy Families news articles

Vaccine update information is subject to change. Please refer to this page regularly.

ABOUT COVID-19 VACCINATIONS

Who is eligible to get the vaccine?

All individuals 6 months and older are eligible to get vaccinated. Appointments are available at various sites in the Louisville area. Schedule a vaccination.

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Which vaccine is available for my child?

The Moderna vaccine for children ages 6 months to 5 years is available only at our pop-up clinic at Norton Community Medical Associates – Audubon. The Pfizer vaccine for ages 6 months and older will be given at all other Norton locations where appointments are available.

How long is the wait in between doses of the primary vaccination series for children who are not immunocompromised?


Manufacturer

Age group

Number of doses in primary series

Interval between doses

Moderna

6 months to 5 years

2

4 to 8 weeks

Pfizer

6 months to 4 years

3

3 to 8 weeks between first and second dose; at least 8 weeks between second and third dose

Pfizer

5 years and older

2

3 to 8 weeks

Which young children are eligible for a COVID-19 booster?

Booster doses are currently recommended for children ages 5 and older, per guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Norton Healthcare currently offers the Pfizer booster at our St. Matthews and West Broadway vaccine clinics, Norton Prompt Care at Walgreens clinics, Norton Community Medical Associates offices and Norton Children’s Medical Group locations.

Please speak with your child’s health care provider about their health and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate.


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What is the difference between the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for children under 5?

The Pfizer vaccine is authorized for children ages 6 months to 4 years . The Moderna vaccine is authorized for children ages 6 months to 5 years. Outside of the age range, one of the biggest differences between the two vaccines is the number of shots in the primary series — three for Pfizer and two for Moderna. The dose given for each vaccine also differs. The Moderna dose is 0.25 mL (containing 25 micrograms of vaccine); this is one-half the volume and one-quarter the dose that adults get (0.5 mL containing 100 micrograms of vaccine). The Pfizer dose is 0.2 mL (containing 3 micrograms of vaccine); this is two-thirds the volume and one-tenth the dose that adults get (0.3 mL containing 30 micrograms of vaccine).

Clinical trials for this age group included more than 9,000 babies and children under age 5 (approximately 4,800 received Moderna and more than 4,700 received Pfizer). After very careful and thorough review of the vaccine data for children under age 5, both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have proven to be safe and effective.

What if my child gets COVID-19 in between shots in their primary vaccination series?

If your child gets COVID-19 between vaccine doses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you delay their next dose until they’ve recovered.

Although there’s no specific time period required after recovering from COVID-19, the CDC says you may consider waiting three months. Studies have shown that increased time between infection and vaccination may result in an improved immune response to vaccination. In addition, your child likely is well-protected right after having had COVID-19.

If your child has already had COVID-19, should they still get vaccinated?

In short, YES, based on current data, the vaccines convey more effective immunity than the type your child created while fighting off the disease. Those who were more severely affected by the disease may have developed more antibodies than those who had mild or no symptoms.

study of patients in Kentucky showed that unvaccinated people who already had COVID-19 are more than twice as likely than fully vaccinated people to get COVID-19 again.
Those who are sick with COVID-19 should not get the vaccine until they have recovered and met the criteria for discontinuing isolation. Those with COVID-19 but without symptoms also should wait until after their isolation period to get vaccinated. People who recently had COVID-19 may consider delaying a primary series dose or their first or second COVID-19 vaccine booster dose by three months from symptom onset or positive test (if infection was asymptomatic). Most people likely are well-protected immediately after having had COVID-19, but waiting a while to be vaccinated might allow for a more robust booster effect.

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Do we know how long the COVID-19 vaccine provides immunity?

The immune response to COVID-19 vaccine is strong and very broad. We know that antibodies wane with time and are less effective at preventing infection, especially with new variants. However, it is clear that protection against severe disease and death persists for a long time. Staying up to date with all recommended booster doses based on age and health status offers the best protection against severe COVID-19 illness. Wondering if you or your child need a booster? Use the CDC’s online tool to find out when booster doses are due.
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Why are people who are vaccinated still getting COVID-19?

Some of the “breakthrough” cases are people who don’t have symptoms but test positive. Others have mild upper respiratory tract symptoms and test positive for COVID-19. A vaccine may not prevent you from being infected, but it helps your body fight the infection and can prevent severe disease, hospitalization, long-term symptoms and even death.

The Omicron variant has mutations that allow it to evade human immune responses. It replicates quickly in the upper respiratory tract and is extremely contagious — almost as contagious as measles, one of the most contagious diseases known to science. Fortunately, though, the Omicron variant generally causes less severe disease, especially in those who have been vaccinated.

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If my child moves into a different age group for the vaccine after receiving an initial lower dose, will their second dose change to what is recommended for the older group?

Children should receive the age-appropriate vaccine formulation and follow the schedule based on their age on the day of vaccination, regardless of their size or weight.  If a person moves from a younger age group to an older age group during the primary series or between the primary series and receipt of the booster dose(s), they should receive the vaccine dosage for the older age group for all subsequent doses.

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How are children affected by COVID-19?

Nearly 13.5 million children have tested positive since the start of the pandemic. The remarkable toll of COVID-19 among children in the U.S. includes nearly 30,000 hospitalizations and over 1,200 deaths, some of which were due to multisystem inflammatory syndrome that can follow recovery from acute COVID-19. Unvaccinated children under age 5 have a 10-fold risk of dying from COVID-19 compared with people vaccinated with at least the primary series. COVID-19 is currently the most common infectious cause of death in children.

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How do I know that my young child is receiving the correct dose?

Your child should receive a dose from a vial with a different color cap that indicates the formulation specifically studied and authorized for their age group.

Pfizer 6 months to 4 years – Maroon-capped vial

Pfizer 5 to 11 years – Orange-capped vial

Pfizer 12 years and older – Gray-capped vial

Moderna 6 months to 5 years – Blue with magenta border-capped vial

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What are likely side effects?

Serious side effects are rare after any vaccine, including the COVID-19 vaccine. It has been determined by the Food and Drug Administration and the CDC that the risk of severe illness from COVID-19 is much higher than the risk of side effects from the vaccine. Worldwide, billions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been given, and there is no sign of any long-term side effects.

Minor side effects in children are similar to what have been seen in the millions of people over age 12 who have received the vaccine: pain at the injection site, low-grade fever, headache, fatigue and nausea. Young children may also experience sleepiness or irritability.

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Can you get the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine (or other vaccines) at the same time?

Yes. It is recommended that the vaccines be given in different injection sites.

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How have children ages 5 to 17 done with the vaccine?

Ages 5 to 17 have received the COVID-19 vaccine, and serious side effects have been rare. A very small number of older adolescents — mostly males, and somewhere around one in 15,000 — experienced myocarditis (heart inflammation) after receiving the vaccine, but these issues have been mild, and almost all recover very quickly. Myocarditis has not been associated with vaccination of young children. Vaccination is still the best way to protect children from COVID-19 complications.

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Was Norton Children’s involved in the development of the vaccine for children?

Norton Children’s Research Institute, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, was one of about 80 sites worldwide that enrolled children in the Pfizer study. Families from the Louisville community volunteered and were part of the historic study that led to approval of the vaccine for children.

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My child is afraid the shot will hurt. What can I do?


Some tips for anyone getting a shot:

Relax your arm during the injection. Afterward, start moving your arm.

Turn your head and look away.

Find a distraction or keep talking.

Drink water ahead of time, and don’t get vaccinated on an empty stomach.

Take deep breaths to relax your body and help clear your mind.

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Will the vaccine prevent COVID-19 and its variants?

The vaccine is very effective at preventing severe disease, even against variants like delta and omicron. “Breakthrough” cases happen in vaccinated individuals, but they tend to be mild.

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Should immunocompromised children get the vaccine?

Yes! Immunocompromised kids potentially are at risk for getting more severe COVID-19 and long-term complications from the coronavirus itself, and they should be vaccinated. The dosing regimen may be different than for children who are not immunocompromised, per CDC guidelines.

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Do we know what the long-term effects of the COVID-19 vaccine might be?

The vaccine has been shown safe and effective in clinical trials and in the hundreds of millions who have been vaccinated so far. Serious side effects that can cause long-term health issues are extremely rare after vaccinations of all kinds, including the COVID-19 vaccine. Over 11 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given worldwide since December of 2020 , and no serious long-term side effects have been found despite looking very carefully for them. What we do know is that COVID-19 kills people. It can damage just about any organ in the body, including the heart, lungs and brain. It can be spread easily from someone with no symptoms or with just a mild case to someone who can develop a severe, life-threatening case. The vaccines not only prevent disease in many cases, they also lessen the severity of disease in those who get sick despite being vaccinated.

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Where can I or my child get the vaccine?


The vaccine is available at various Norton Healthcare locations throughout the Louisville area. Appointments can be scheduled at  NortonChildrens.com/COVID-19 or NortonHealthcare.com/COVID-19. You will have the option to select the location that works best for you. You also may call your provider or your child’s provider’s office to make an appointment for the vaccine.

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What do I need to bring to my or my child’s vaccine appointment?


The vaccine is free, but if you have an insurance card, please bring it. In addition, the patient should wear a loose-fitting top that allows easy access to the upper arm. No proof of age is required. Plan to stay 15 to 30 minutes after you or your child receives the vaccine. If the appointment is for a booster, be sure to bring your (or your child’s) COVID-19 vaccination card.

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How can I check that my vaccine appointment has been scheduled and the location?

You can confirm the date, time and location of your appointment by signing in to your or your child’s free MyNortonChart account. You’ll need proxy access to see your child’s information. If you don’t already have proxy access, sign up here.

If you do not receive a confirmation email or text message, your child’s appointment may not have been scheduled successfully. Please try again, and make sure that you click “Schedule It” at the end of the scheduling process. You also can contact our vaccine scheduling team at (502) 861-4499.

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How much is the COVID-19 vaccine?

COVID-19 vaccines are available at no cost.

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I lost my COVID-19 vaccination card. What can I do?


You may access your or your child’s records of vaccination through MyNortonChart.
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COVID-19 Vaccines

Norton Children’s has opened COVID-19 vaccination appointments for kids ages 6 months and older.
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COVID-19 Tests

Schedule Online

Call (502) 861-4611, option 1

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