COVID-19 Vaccines for 5-11 Year Olds

What vaccines are available for children aged 5-11?

  • The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommends the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 5-11 years.
  • The Moderna vaccine is also approved for children aged 6-11 years.
  • Pfizer is the only vaccine approved for children aged 5.
  • There is a specific, smaller dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine given to children.
  • If a child turns 12 years of age after their first vaccine dose, their second dose will be the adult-sized dose.
  • A child’s second dose will be the same type of vaccine they received for their first dose.
  • The eight-week interval between first and second vaccine doses can be shortened to 3 weeks for Pfizer – and four weeks for Moderna – in special circumstances, such as:
    • for those with medical risk factors for severe disease
    • before the start of significant immunosuppression (for example, chemotherapy treatment)
    • before international travel.
  • Your health provider can advise if your child’s second dose should be given earlier.


Vaccine safety and monitoring

  • All COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Australia are safe and effective across all age groups.
  • Scientists and medical experts assess vaccine research, findings from clinical trials and real-world evidence to help them decide whether a vaccine is safe for use and effective against infection.
  • They also regularly review new research and evidence to ensure approved vaccines continue to be safe and effective. ATAGI reviews new research and evidence, and provides recommendations on vaccination to Government. You can find out more about ATAGI’s recommendations on the Australian Government Health website.
  • All states and territories in Australia report adverse events (such as side effects) after vaccination to the TGA as part of an ongoing safety monitoring program to protect the health of the community.
  • Adverse effects are also reported to AusVaxSafety and SAEFVIC, which publish weekly updates on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines.
  • If you have questions about vaccine safety or side effects, you can also speak with your child’s doctor or health professional.
  • Find out more about:
    • COVID-19 vaccines, including how they were scientifically tested, and
    • the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, including what they contain and how they were developed.

Vaccination for children with disabilities or special requirements

  • Accessible options and supports are available for children who may have mild anxiety about vaccination or minor behavioural issues, as well as children with disabilities or other specific access needs.
  • Disability Liaison Officers (DLOs) help people with a disability access these services. Contact a DLO to assist.
  • There are services available for children with more severe needle phobia.


The benefits of vaccinating children against COVID-19

  • Children who are vaccinated will receive direct protection against COVID-19.
  • While children and young people are less likely than adults to get severe symptoms if they contract COVID-19, some can still get very sick – this includes children who are immunocompromised or with other pre-existing conditions.
  • Children can transmit COVID-19; however, vaccination may help prevent transmission to other children and older age groups, including family members who may be at higher risk, such as grandparents.
  • Vaccinating younger children also means there is less chance of school closures in future – this will help kids to have more face-to-face learning, play time, engaging in different activities, and being with their friends.

Vaccination side effects for young children

  • Like any other medicine, all vaccines can have side effects. More serious side effects are very rare. Some children will experience no side effects at all.
  • As with first vaccine doses, side effects can occur with second doses.
  • Common and expected side after vaccination may include a sore arm, headache and fatigue.
  • Side effects usually only need treatment with paracetamol, and children rarely need to see a doctor for treatment.
  • There is no scientific evidence that vaccines impact future fertility.
  • You can find out more about the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.


Third primary doses for children aged 5 to 11 who are severely immunocompromised

Children aged 5 years and over who are severely immunocompromised can receive a third dose as part of their primary course of vaccination.

They can receive their third dose from 2 months after their second dose. A third dose will help give children who are severely immunocompromised the same level of protection as other children. 

Frequently Asked Questions children aged 5-11