COVID-19 vaccines for children

ATAGI recommends that everyone aged 5 years and older gets a COVID-19 vaccine to help protect against COVID-19. Children aged 6 months to under 5 years who are at greater risk of severe disease are also eligible for COVID-19 vaccination.

Who is eligible

Vaccination is recommended for everyone in Australia aged 5 years and over.

Vaccination is also recommended for children aged 6 months to under 5 years who are severely immunocompromised, or have disability, as well as those who have complex and/or multiple health conditions that increase their risk of severe COVID-19.

The ATAGI recommended doses and vaccines outlines which vaccines and doses are recommended for each age and population group.

A 2023 COVID-19 booster dose should be considered for children and adolescents aged 5-17 years old who have medical comorbidities that increase their risk of severe COVID-19, or disability with significant or complex health needs.

ATAGI advises that a 2023 booster dose is not recommended at this time for children and adolescents under the aged of 18 years who do not have any risk factors of severe COVID-19.

COVID-19 vaccines are safe for children

The TGA carefully evaluates available data for all vaccines to support their safety and efficacy among children.

COVID-19 vaccine safety data from AusVaxSafety shows that 5 to 11 year olds are reporting fewer short-term vaccine side effects than those reported by older Australians. 

Finding credible information

You can find information and references to clinical trials and real-world studies ATAGI clinical guidelines.

We also have a collection of resources for parents and children about COVID-19 vaccines.

Booking an appointment for your child

You can use the health Service Finder to book a vaccination appointment for your child.

Find a clinic and book

Check your local state or territory health department's website for more information on getting vaccinated locally. Not all vaccine providers will offer all vaccines.

Reactions to the vaccine

Children may experience some side effects after vaccination. Most side effects last no more than a couple of days and they will recover quickly. Common reactions to vaccination include:

  • pain, redness and/or swelling where they received the needle
  • mild fever
  • headache
  • fatigue (children aged 6 months to 5 years).

If you have any concerns you can use the Heathdirect symptom checker.

Children need to complete their primary course

It is important children complete their primary course, as having all the doses recommended for their age and health needs will extend their protection against COVID-19.

For most children, this will be 2 vaccine doses given 8 weeks apart.

For children with immunocompromise, or children who are aged 6 months to 4 years receiving the Pfizer vaccine, this will be 3 doses.

Severely immunocompromised children who receive the 3-dose primary schedule of the Pfizer (COMIRNATY) 6 months to 4 years (maroon cap) vaccine do not require a fourth primary dose.

The interval can be shortened to a minimum of 3 weeks for Pfizer, in special circumstances – for example, if your child is identified as a subgroup at risk of moderate or severe COVID-19 during a local outbreak, before your child starts any immunosuppressive treatment or prior to overseas travel overseas.

Your provider will advise if your child’s second or third dose should be given earlier.

If your child has had COVID-19

If your child has had COVID-19 you should wait 6 months after the confirmed infection before they have a COVID-19 vaccine dose as part of their primary course.

This is to optimise their vaccine protection. A longer gap between infection and vaccination is likely to lead to a better immune response and result in longer protection from reinfection.

The next scheduled dose of COVID-19 vaccine should be given as soon as possible after 6 months. Your child should still have all the recommended doses.

If your child has had COVID-19, you do not need to defer other vaccinations – for example, the flu vaccine. But they should not get any vaccine if they are acutely unwell (e.g., have a fever).

COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines

If your child has had COVID-19, you do not need to defer other vaccinations – for example, the flu vaccine. But they should not get any vaccine if they are acutely unwell (e.g., have a fever).

COVID-19 vaccines can be given on the same day as influenza and other vaccines in all age groups. This includes routine infant, childhood, and adolescent vaccines.

Dosage amount for children

Unlike many medications, COVID-19 vaccine dosage does not vary by patient weight, but by age on the day of vaccination. 

This is similar to other routinely recommended vaccines, like flu or hepatitis vaccines.

Vaccines are generally based on the developmental stage, or age of the immune system in a younger person rather than weight.

See information on COVID-19 vaccines.

Children who turn 5, 6 or 12 between doses

Children should receive the appropriate brand and dose of vaccine according to their age on the day of vaccination. For example:

  • children who turn 12 after their first dose of Pfizer vaccine (for children 5 to 11) should receive Pfizer or Moderna vaccine (for adolescents/adults 12 years and over) to complete their primary course.
  • Children who turn 5 after their first or second dose of Pfizer vaccine (for children aged 6 months to 4 years) should receive Pfizer vaccine (for children 5 to 11) for the remaining dose to complete their primary course.


You may be asked to sign a consent form so your child can be vaccinated.

In general, a parent or legal guardian of a child has the authority to consent to vaccination. In some states and territories, older adolescents may be able to provide their own consent.

Your child’s COVID-19 vaccine will be recorded on their Immunisation History Statement.

More information about consent is available in the Australian Immunisation Handbook.

You can check with your state or territory health authority about these laws.

View our patient resources.


How do you catch a virus? 

When it’s cold out, we spend more time indoors 

So here’s a list of reminders

How to stay well inside between four walls

Get vaccinated if you can 

Stay at home when you feel bad 

Think about how close you stand 

Don’t forget to wash your hands 

And I’ll do the same, cause I got you.

Childhood immunisation community kit

This stakeholder kit offers a range of activities to help children learn how to stay safe from viral infections like COVID-19, with helpful information for parents and guardians about the importance of all childhood vaccinations.
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