COVID-19 vaccination information for 5-11 year olds
Vaccinating your child gives them direct protection against becoming severely unwell from 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 with certain pre-existing conditions, such as obesity, Down syndrome, or cerebral palsy.
Some children and adolescents can also develop chronic symptoms more than one or two months after COVID infection. This is called Long COVID.
Children can transmit COVID-19, but vaccination will help prevent them transmitting the virus to other children and older age groups, including family members who may be at higher risk, such as grandparents.
Frequently asked questions
Is it mandatory for children aged 5-11 to get vaccinated?
It is not mandatory to get vaccinated. However, by getting vaccinated, young children are helping to protect themselves and their families, as well as their schools and communities.
Where will children be able to get vaccinated?
The vaccines will be available through participating:
- general practices
- Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Organisations
Parents and guardians will be able to book an appointment for their children at a doctor’s clinic or pharmacy through the Australian Government’s Clinic Finder (healthdirect.gov.au)
What vaccines are available to children?
Is the vaccine dose for children aged 5-11 the same as for people aged 12 and over?
No, the dose of the Pfizer vaccine given to children aged 5-11 will be one third of the dose given to those aged 12 and over.
What if my child turns 12 between their two doses?
Children who turn 12 after their first dose may receive the adolescent/adult formation of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to complete their primary vaccine course. It is recommended that they receive the paediatric formation as their first dose.
How do we know that the vaccine is safe for 5-11 year olds?
The TGA and ATAGI are reviewing additional clinical evidence and safety data from clinical trials of mRNA vaccines in children aged 5-11 years and real-world data from the United States (US) vaccine rollout in this age group.
In the clinical Pfizer trial, which included 3,100 children, there were no vaccine safety concerns and no serious side effects detected.
The vaccines are already being administered to children aged 5-11 years in the US, with roughly 5 million children having already received their first dose. Programs are commending in Canada, in Europe, Israel and elsewhere.
After their vaccination, children will be monitored for at least 15 minutes to make sure they are OK. Children with a history of anaphylaxis will be monitored for 30 minutes.
If you have specific questions or concerns for your child, you should speak to your local GP or healthcare provider.
Is there ongoing monitoring of vaccine safety for young children?
The TGA and ATAGI are reviewing available clinical evidence and safety data from clinical trials of mRNA vaccines in children aged 5-11 years and real-world data from the US vaccine rollout in this age group.
AusVaxSafety conducts ongoing, thorough vaccine safety surveillance in the Australian community.
Are the vaccines safe for children with disabilities?
There is no evidence to suggest that children with a disability are more likely to suffer adverse effects from vaccination than other children.
The vaccine rollout in Victoria will include accessible options and supports for children who may have mild anxiety about vaccination or minor behavioural issues, as well as children with developmental disabilities, autism and/or sensory issues.
There will also be services available for children with more severe needle phobia.
What are the side effects of vaccination in young children?
Like any other medicine, all vaccines can have side effects.
Children can experience common and expected side effects after the Pfizer vaccine, such as a sore arm, headache and fatigue. These usually only need treatment with paracetamol, and children rarely need to see a doctor for treatment.
More serious side effects are very rare.
There are no concerns about long-term safety of the mRNA vaccines in children, with the majority of reported side effects after vaccination occurring early – within the first 6-8 weeks.
The Victorian Government’s Coronavirus website has more information about possible vaccine side effects.
You can also find out more about the Pfizer vaccine.
- ATAGI recommendations on Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine use in children aged 5 to 11 years | Australian Government Department of Health
- TGA provisionally approves Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for 5 to 11-year-olds | Australian Government Department of Health
- Royal Children’s Hospital podcast
- COVID-19 vaccination social scripts – Amaze – Autism resource
- VaxFACTS – Frequently asked questions about COVID-19 vaccination
- Vaccination information for children and teenagers | Coronavirus Victoria
- Mental health resources for parents and families | Coronavirus Victoria
- Resource – COVID-19 Vaccination Planning for young children
- COVID-19 vaccination and children: 5-11 years (Raising Children)