Boy Receiving a Vaccination During a Pandemic. A sweet little mixed race boy sits up on an examination table as he receives an immunization. He is looking up and smiling as the doctor places the bandage on his arm.

What to do while waiting for COVID vaccines for kids under 5

Waiting for a COVID vaccine for children younger than age 5? You're not alone.

What we know so far

  • The FDA is expected to review the use of COVID vaccines for children age 6 months to 5 years in mid-June.
    • “This is great news,” says Melissa Stockwell, MD, MPH, noting, per the American Academy of Pediatrics, there are over 100,000 new cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection in children each week. And areas of high transmission throughout the United States.
  • The FDA and CDC recently approved the use of a booster dose for children 5-11 years old.
    • Says Stockwell: As in other age groups, this booster dose is recommended to help restore immunity and enhance protection against severe disease.

Protecting your children and the people around them is important. “We aren’t trying to just prevent infection with these vaccines, although they do some of that too, we are trying to prevent serious consequences of getting infected,” says Stockwell. Children of eligible ages still need to be vaccinated to protect them against the most negative outcomes of COVID, like hospitalizations and MISC, multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children. (MISC is a condition in which many different body parts can be affected, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain and GI system).

What to do while you wait for the vaccine for kids under 5

  • Vaccinate people in your family who are eligible.
  • Follow CDC recommendations for isolation and quarantine, including getting tested if you or your children are exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19.
    • If you are in areas with high community transmission, follow CDC recommendations: Regardless of your vaccination status, wear a well-fitting mask indoors in public, including in K-12 schools.
    • If you are in a moderate transmission area, maintain improved ventilation in indoor spaces when possible.


Melissa Stockwell, MD, MPH, is chief of the Division of Child and Adolescent Health and associate professor of pediatrics at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, and associate professor of population and family health at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. Her research, which concentrates on underserved children and adolescents, focuses on translational interventions to improve vaccinations with an emphasis on health technology and health literacy.

She is the medical director of the New York-Presbyterian Immunization Registry (EzVac) and co-director of the Columbia University Primary Care Clinician Research Fellowship in Community Health.