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What is the difference between the COVID vaccine for adults and kids?

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

Pediatrician Ilan Shapiro, MD explains a lower dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been authorized for kids 5-11.

Right now, the vaccine that we have from 5 to 11 is exactly the same formula as the one that we’re giving to the adults. The only difference is that we measure with different doses. Sometimes, kids actually need a higher dose with certain vaccines or medications. Sometimes, actually lower. With this time, we actually saw that we needed one third of the dose of the adult size vaccine. That means that, you know, we needed to measure, you know, if that was effective and safe with all the side effects that we can actually expect. Then very importantly, the side effects were a little bit of pain on the arm, redness, fever, a little bit of malaise that was not happening as often as an adults.

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.

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Everyone ages 5+ can get a COVID-19 vaccine, and those 12+ can get a booster shot.

There is no cost to get a COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S., regardless of insurance or immigration status.