One chart shows the differences between the 2 COVID vaccines available for young kids, from side effects to dosing

  • Vaccines are now available for babies as young as 6 months old in the US.
  • Two brands are offered: Pfizer and moderna

The smallest COVID-19 vaccines are out there.

Babies and toddlers as young as 6 months began receiving COVID-19 vaccines in the US this week, after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave the final green light this weekend.

Parents and caregivers can choose from two different vaccine brands: Pfizer and Moderna. While both vaccines work, they are not exactly the same.

Pfizer’s triple vaccination course uses a smaller dose of mRNA and has less frequent side effects, while Moderna’s double vaccination course is both shorter and faster.

Here’s everything you need to know about the two different vaccines, including how they compare when it comes to dosage, side effects, and protection:

The data here is based on vaccine trials conducted by the two drug manufacturers for regulatory approval. Moderna tested its low-dose vaccine on more than 5,000 children, while Pfizer’s trial involved more than 3,000 young participants.

Many doctors and Public health experts have already expressed a preference for Moderna’s injection, and one of the biggest reasons they like it better is because the protection kicks in several weeks faster than Pfizer’s, with fewer injections.

It’s okay to vaccinate a child recently infected with COVID

Most children in the US have recently been infected with COVID-19, but experts warn that the immunity gained from those Omicron infections may not be very durable or long-lasting. Vaccines can still help little ones develop a robust immune response against the virus in all its forms. And many studies also show that vaccinated people are less likely to become reinfected with COVID (because of what’s called “hybrid immunity”).

If you’re wondering when to vaccinate your child who has recently had COVID, says public health expert Katelyn Jetelina, who runs the popular newsletter Your Local Epidemiologist, don’t “think too much about it.”

While you can wait up to three months after a COVID infection to get the vaccine, the CDC says that as long as a person has recovered from their illness (generally 10 days or less), it’s okay to go ahead and indulge vaccinate.

“Once they’re done with their infection, and it’s been about 10 days, and their symptoms are getting better, as a parent I would get them vaccinated right away,” Jetelina said. “Finding out the timing for the next wave is a slippery slope to go down, and I think it’s just easier for people to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

Most importantly, vaccines help people of all ages stay alive and get out of intensive care. While the number of children who have died from COVID-19 is small in the grand scheme of things from this deadly pandemic, the virus has still become a leading cause of death for children 0-4 years old.

Jetelina, a mother of two young girls who both recently had COVID, said she is currently “trying to scramble with every other parent to find an appointment” to get her children vaccinated.

“Honestly, I’m waiting for Moderna, even if it’s another day or two,” she said.

Still, she acknowledged that “Pfizer has an advantage” – the lower incidence of side effects.

“For some parents, that might be a good reason to go for Pfizer over Moderna.”

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