The CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older should get an updated 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccine.
People who are up to date have lower risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19 than people who are unvaccinated or who have not completed the doses recommended for them by CDC.
- Everyone aged 5 years and older should get 1 dose of an updated COVID-19 vaccine to protect against serious illness from COVID-19.
- Children aged 6 months–4 years need multiple doses of COVID-19 vaccines to be up to date, including at least 1 dose of updated COVID-19 vaccine.
- People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised may get additional doses of updated COVID-19 vaccine.
Below are resources and information for providers who are interested in vaccinating people under 18 years old.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why should minors get vaccinated against COVID-19?
Since the beginning of the pandemic, over 15 million children in the United States have gotten COVID-19. New COVID-19 variants are more dangerous and infectious to children than the original strains and led to peak COVID-19 hospitalizations among youth.
While COVID-19 is often milder in children than adults, children can still get very sick and spread it to friends and family who are immunocompromised or vulnerable in other ways.
Children who are infected with COVID-19 can develop “long COVID-19” or persistent symptoms that often include brain fog, fatigue, headaches, dizziness and shortness of breath. Vaccination is the best way to keep kids healthy and safe.
Children who get infected with COVID-19 may be at greater risk for Multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C). MIS-C is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. While it is still unknown what causes MIS-C, many children with MIS-C had COVID-19, or had been around someone with COVID-19. MIS-C can be serious, even deadly, but most children diagnosed with this condition have gotten better with medical care.
- What can I do as a provider to support COVID-19 vaccinations for youth?
COVID-19 vaccine providers can help youth get their COVID-19 vaccine by:
- Which vaccine can I administer to someone under 18 years of age?
- The Pfizer-BioNTech (Pfizer) 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccine is currently authorized under EUA for individuals 6 months-11 years old. The Corminaty (Pfizer) 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccine is approved for individuals aged 12 and older.
- The Moderna 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccine is currently authorized under EUA for individuals 6 months-11 years old. The Spikevax (Moderna) 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccine is approved for those aged 12 and older.
- The Novavax 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccine is authorized for individuals aged 12 and older.
- Do youth need a 2023-2024 dose?
CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get at least one dose of updated 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccine. Children 6 months-4 years may need multiple doses depending on the previous number of doses received.
- What should I do if I accidentally give a child between ages 5 and 11 the adult dose of COVID-19 vaccine?
If a child receives adult COVID-19 vaccine, do not repeat dose. See the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's clinical considerations for more information.
- What should I do if I accidentally mix and match the series for children ages 6 months-4 years?
Children ages 6 months-4 years who receive different mRNA products for the first 2 doses of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine series should receive a third dose of either mRNA vaccine 8 weeks after the second dose to complete the 3-dose primary series.
- What should I do if I accidentally administer an incorrect formulation for children?
- If the incorrect formulation is administered, resulting in a higher than authorized dose, do NOT repeat dose. A subsequent dose may still be administered at the recommended interval.
- If the incorrect formulation is administered, resulting in a lower than authorized dose, repeat dose immediately (no minimum interval) with the age-appropriate formulation. If there are concerns of the patient being at risk of myocarditis, you can delay the repeated dose for 8 weeks after the invalid dose.
- Do I need to get consent from an authorized adult to vaccinate people under age 18?
Yes. People under age 18 may need consent from an authorized adult to get the vaccine, unless they are legally emancipated. You can treat consent for COVID-19 vaccination the same as you would for other recommended vaccinations for adolescents, such as Tdap or the meningococcal vaccine.
If you have questions about what you can accept as consent, please consult your legal counsel. You can use this sample consent for minor vaccination as a starting point.
- Who can give consent for a minor?
The following adults are authorized to consent for a minor:
- What can I accept for consent?
Your organization must determine what it accepts as consent. For instance, is verbal consent enough or will you require written consent? Check whether your organization already has policies in place for minor consent. If they do, follow the guidelines. If there are not existing guidelines in place, discuss with your legal counsel to draft guidelines. DOH cannot offer legal advice in this matter. For written consent, you can refer to this sample consent for minor vaccination as a starting point.
- Who doesn't need consent from an authorized adult?
Mature minors, emancipated minors, and married minors are exempted from this rule and do not need parent or guardian consent. If a minor is exempt, be sure to document the reason for the exemption for each dose.
- What is the Mature Minor Doctrine?
The Mature Minor Doctrine was established by Smith v. Seibly in the Washington Supreme Court in 1967. This doctrine allows some providers to determine whether a minor has the capacity to understand the proposed health care service or treatment and is sufficiently mature to make their own health care decisions.
Health care providers are responsible for determining whether the Mature Minor Doctrine applies in each situation. Criteria that may be used in this determination include age, intelligence, maturity, training, experience, economic independence, general conduct as an adult, and freedom from the control of parents/guardians.
Only some providers may be able to make a Mature Minor determination. Discuss with your legal counsel to determine whether you are one of these providers.
Examples of applying the Mature Minor Doctrine:
Note: These are only examples of what other organizations have done. This is not a direction from DOH that you must follow any of these specifically.
- Who is an emancipated minor?
An emancipated minor is someone who is 16 or 17 years old who has been legally declared an adult by the court system. An emancipated minor can give informed consent for all health care services, including immunization, without the need for parent or guardian approval.
Emancipated minors can show you their status with one of the following:
- Certified Decree of Emancipation
- Washington State driver license that says they are emancipated
- Washington State ID card that says they are emancipated
Your organization should have a policy on what to do regarding proof of emancipation.
- Do married minors need consent from an authorized adult?
A minor who is married to an adult or to an emancipated minor is considered an adult and can give informed consent for all health care services, including immunization, without the need for parent or guardian approval.
- Can patients receive both COVID-19 and other routine vaccines at the same time on the same day?
Yes. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) changed their recommendation on May 12, 2021. You can now administer COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines to patients without regard to timing of most other vaccines. Please see the following link for specifics: