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What is in the COVID vaccine that kids get?

Pediatricians and other experts answer questions about the COVID-19 vaccines.

Pediatrician Rhea Boyd, MD, MPH breaks down the elements of the COVID-19 vaccine for kids.

The components of the vaccine that 5 to 11-year-olds will be receiving includes the actual MRNA portion of the vaccine. MRNA, the “M” in MRNA stands for message. And it’s almost like a little recipe for your body to know how to recognize a portion of the COVID virus. That portion is called the spike protein, or for folks who recognize the hairstyle, it’s like the little Bantu knots that sit on the outside of the COVID virus. And, so, that message helps your immune system recognize those. So, as soon as it sees it, it can snap into action. The other part of the MRNA vaccines is a fat particle that allows the vaccine to get inside your cells. Everything can’t just knock on the door of your cells and come inside. Things have to be in a specific package. And, so, for the MRNA vaccines, that package is a fat particle. That fat particle then just dissolves as soon as it gets inside yourselves. And then there are also some salts and sugars mixed into the vaccine so that it can again, get into your cells and work effectively.

This information is shared for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. The views expressed are those of the featured medical professional and reflect information available to that professional at time of filming. Always consult a health care provider for any personal health decisions. Click here for vaccine FAQs from the CDC.

Stay up to date with your COVID vaccine, including boosters!

COVID vaccines are safe and effective for everyone ages 6 months and older.

Immunity wanes over time. Keep up your protection against COVID by getting boosted when eligible.

Updated (bivalent) boosters are now available for adults and children 6 months and older.