All South Australians 5 years and over are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination. Vaccination is the best way to reduce your child’s risk of becoming seriously unwell with COVID-19.

The information on this page is about vaccinating children aged 5 to 11.

If your child is aged 12 to 17, please visit our page on COVID-19 vaccination for adolescents.

Recommended vaccines

Children can be vaccinated against COVID-19 at SA Health vaccination clinics, GPs and pharmacies. Children must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian who can provide consent.

Children five years old:

  • Paediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine (lower dose than for ages 12+)
    • Two doses, eight weeks apart

Children aged 6 to 11:

  • Paediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine (lower dose than for ages 12+)
    • Two doses, eight weeks apart
  • Moderna COVID-19 vaccine (lower dose than for ages 12+, only available at GPs and pharmacies)
    • Two doses, eight weeks apart

Children with severe immunocompromise:

  • A third dose is recommended, two months after the second dose, to increase their level of immunity to as close as possible to the general population.

If your child has an underlying medical condition and is medically unstable, you can discuss vaccination with their treating doctor or specialist.

Your doctor or specialist may refer your child to the specialist immunisation service at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital if required.

Booster doses are not currently recommended for children aged 5 to 11.

If your child turns 12 between their first and second dose, they will receive the vaccine dosage recommended for a 12 year old. Vaccine dosages are generally based on the developmental stage of the immune system, and this approach is taken with other routinely recommended vaccines, including flu and hepatitis.

Find out what to expect before, during and after your child’s vaccination appointment.

Why should I get my child vaccinated?

The vaccines work by teaching your child’s body to fight illness so that they don’t become sick or their symptoms aren’t as bad if they do get sick.

Having the vaccine means your child will be less likely to catch COVID-19 and pass it on to others. If they’re vaccinated, they will be able to visit vulnerable or older family members more safely. Schools will also be safer.

There is still a chance that your child will catch COVID-19, but if they do, they are likely to have no symptoms or mild symptoms.

If you’re still undecided, this interactive decision aid can help you.

Professor Spurrier explains COVID-19 vaccination for children

Professor Spurrier answers parents and caregivers common questions

Helping your child understand

It’s natural for your child to be curious and to have lots of questions about COVID-19 vaccinations. It may be helpful to start a conversation with your child about the vaccines.

It’s important to listen to them and acknowledge and reassure any fears they have about needles or being vaccinated.

Be honest and explain and in an age-appropriate way the facts about the COVID-19 vaccine. Remember children take emotional cues from adults, so oversharing fears may not be constructive and may make your child feel uncomfortable or scared.

It may help to explain to your child what they can expect on the day of the appointment, including that the doctor or medical professional will ask them some questions. They will need to put the needle into the top of their arm, it will feel like a small prick and their arm might be a bit sore afterwards. Reassure your child that it’s normal for their arm to be a bit sore.

If your child seems anxious about getting vaccinated, try exploring their feelings further or seek further advice from your GP if necessary.

For younger children, try reading our children’s book with them: How to protect yourself from COVID-19 (PDF 2.6MB).

For older children, share our fact sheet: Fact sheet for children aged 5 to 11 (PDF 63KB).

For parents, read our Frequently asked questions: Parents and caregivers (PDF 217KB).

Safety and efficacy

All age groups are given the same safe and effective vaccine, which is given at a different dose depending on age.

The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, providing protection against existing variants including Delta and Omicron.

The vaccines have been tested extensively in clinical trials and, following the conclusion of the clinical trials, millions of children around the world have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Side effects

Your child might experience some side effects after their vaccine, but these are usually mild and only last for a couple of days. Side effects can include pain, redness or swelling at the injection site, a headache, general aches and pains or a fever. These are common and expected reactions.

There are rare side effects linked to the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, including myocarditis and pericarditis, however these are extremely rare in children under the age of 15. For more information, see the COVID-19 vaccination – Guidance on Myocarditis and Pericarditis after mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.

Vaccination after COVID-19 infection

If your child has had COVID-19 you should wait to have them vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine for three months after the confirmed infection.

This is to optimise the vaccine’s 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 three 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 your child should not get any vaccine if they are acutely unwell (e.g., they have a fever).