Here’s how the doses of the two vaccines differ for young children.


Federal health officials on Saturday approved the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccines for very young children — the only age group in the United States that does not yet have a vaccine option.

Doses can be rolled out as early as Tuesday. Vaccinating the youngest children would provide relief for many families who have faced disruptions to childcare and preschool during the pandemic, as well as concerns that their children may be among the few to become seriously ill from Covid-19.

Vaccines from Pfizer and its partner BioNTech are already available for Americans ages 6 and older, and Moderna’s vaccines for adults.

On Friday, Dr. Peter Marks, chief of the Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine division, said that parents should feel comfortable vaccinating their very young children with either the Pfizer-BioNTech or the Moderna vaccine, whichever is available.

Here are some key facts about the pediatric vaccines.

  • Number of shots: Three.

  • Distance between shots: Three weeks between the first and second injection and at least eight weeks between the second and third.

  • Dosage: Three micrograms in each shot. In comparison, children aged 5 to 11 receive two 20 microgram injections; adolescents and adults receive two injections of 30 micrograms.

  • Effectiveness: The Pfizer scientists say the vaccine has an overall efficacy of 80 percent in children under the age of 5, but that calculation was based on an extremely small sample of 10 children.

  • Number of shots: Two.

  • Distance between shots: Four weeks apart.

  • Dosage: Twenty-five micrograms in each shot – half the size of the adult shots.

  • Effectiveness: Moderna estimated the vaccine’s effectiveness against symptomatic infection to be about 51 percent in children 6 to 24 months of age and 37 percent in children 2 to 5 years of age.

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