COVID-19 vaccination for children and young people

COVID-19 is a serious illness that can affect everyone in our community. By having your child vaccinated against COVID-19 you are protecting your child from getting seriously ill if they were to get infected with the virus. Your child is also less likely to transmit the virus to other family members.

Young people tend to be very social. The recent variants of COVID-19 are highly contagious, and we are seeing increased circulation amongst children.

Safety information

The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and well tolerated in children and adolescents. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has approved Pfizer (Comirnaty) for children aged 5–11 years old. This approval follows the TGA’s careful consideration of data from clinical trials conducted in the United States, Finland, Poland and Spain which included participants 5–11 years of age.

The Pfizer (Comirnaty) vaccine has been approved for children aged 5–17.

The Pfizer (Comirnaty) and Moderna (Spikevax) vaccines have been approved for use in children over 12 in countries including the United States, Canada and parts of Europe.

Queensland Health continues to monitor information and statistics from other health agencies, both within Australia and globally on vaccine safety among children and adolescents.

Like any vaccine there are some risks, but they are extremely lowIf you have concerns, you should discuss these with your family GP to help you make an informed decision about vaccinating your child. Read more about side effects of COVID-19 vaccination.

If you have questions or concerns, we recommend you talk to your family GP to help you make an informed decision.

Getting your child tested

Even if your child has been vaccinated, if they develop COVID-19 symptoms they should be tested. Vaccinated people can still be infected by COVID-19. The vaccine reduces the likelihood of severe illness and hospitalisation.

Getting your child vaccinated

It’s important to have a discussion with your child about the benefits of being vaccinated against COVID-19 and reassure them that the vaccine has been tested and is safe.

We have seen in other areas of Australia and around the world that children are more susceptible to the emerging variants of COVID-19.  Like adults, some children who get COVID-19 will be asymptomatic and many will experience symptoms similar to a cold or flu. However, there are children who have become seriously ill and needed hospitalisation after contracting COVID-19.

For children, a significant risk of contracting COVID-19 is a long term inflammatory syndrome, which affects about one in every 3000 children, and can cause illnesses such as fever, rash, and intestinal, heart, and neurological issues long after their recovery from COVID-19.

Vaccinating children also helps the community, as we have seen that children can play a significant role in spreading COVID-19 in family environments – with grandparents and other older family members being a significant concern.

TGA’s study demonstrated effectiveness of the vaccine by showing that the immune response to the vaccine in children was similar to that seen in older age groups. These clinical trials also showed that the safety profile in children is similar to that seen in adults with the observed side effects being mild.

If your child has a fear of needles, read our information on strategies for dealing with needle phobia during vaccinations,

How to book

Find and book at your nearest vaccination clinic using the Vaccine clinic finder or Register your interest for vaccination at a Queensland Health vaccination location:

  • A parent/guardian can register and set up their children as dependents. If you have previously registered with Queensland Health you can log in to your account to add dependents, you do not need to register again. All correspondence will be managed through the parent/guardian’s email address. Read more about creating a dependent in the vaccine booking system.
  • Older children can register themselves separately if they have their own email address

If your child takes other medications, you may need to check with your family GP or specialist before making a booking.

The second dose

To achieve the highest level of protection and be fully vaccinated, it’s really important that your child receives their second dose.

For children aged 5–11 years, the second dose of the Pfizer (Comirnaty) vaccine is recommended to be administered 8 weeks after the first dose.

For young people aged 12–17 years, the second dose of the Pfizer (Comirnaty) vaccine should be administered 3–6 weeks after the first dose. The second dose of the Moderna (Spikevax) vaccine should be administered 4–6 weeks after the first dose.

Children aged 5–11 years will receive a smaller dose (10 microgram dose) of the Pfizer (Comirnaty) vaccine while young people aged 12 years and older will receive an adult dose (30 micrograms) of the Pfizer (Comirnaty) or Moderna (Spikevax) vaccine.

It’s normal to experience some level of discomfort after receiving a vaccine. Talk to your child about the importance of being fully vaccinated. Find strategies for dealing with needle phobia during vaccinations.

The preferred minimum interval between a dose of COVID-19 vaccine and any other vaccine is 7 days. In special circumstances, this time period may be shortened (including same day administration). Exceptions are in place where it is has been deemed medically safe, including the school vaccination program.

After your child’s vaccination

Your child will be required to wait 15–30 minutes after their vaccination to ensure there are no immediate adverse reactions. The most common reaction children experience after receiving the vaccination are injection site pain and headaches. Paracetamol can be used to treat these symptoms.

Reactions to vaccines do happen. Most reactions are minor, temporary and expected, such as a sore arm or headache. You should monitor your child in the days following their vaccination and consult your family GP if you have concerns. Remember, getting vaccinated does not prevent your child getting COVID-19. If you child shows COVID-19 symptoms even after they are fully vaccinated, they must get a COVID-19 test.

Unless your child experiences discomfort following their vaccine that would interfere with their usual activities at school, there’s no reason your child can’t go about their regular day-to-day activities after receiving the vaccine.

Wearing a mask

Throughout this pandemic, masks have played a major role in Queensland’s fight against COVID-19. If your school advises students to wear masks, fully vaccinated students should also comply with this request.

Immunocompromised children

Children whose immune systems have been compromised due to medical treatment (such as chemotherapy, organ transplants, and current use of immunosuppressive medications) are more at risk from the common cold, the flu and other infections, and are more at risk of developing a serious illness from COVID-19.

This includes patients with autoimmune diseases, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis), those who are post liver transplantation, and those who have had a splenectomy.

It is important to discuss your child’s current level of immunosuppression with their specialist and follow the recommended infection prevention guidelines to protect your child.

Always take precautions to prevent the spread of infections for immunocompromised children (including basic hand and respiratory hygiene practices, and physical distancing). Getting carers and other close contacts vaccinated is also essential. If you have concerns about your child, we recommend discussing their current level of immunosuppression with their specialist to form the best plan for your child.

Children with special needs

If your child has special needs, they can still be vaccinated at:

More information is available for people with disability and their carers.