COVID-19 Vaccines for Kids 12 and Older

Everyone 12 and older is now eligible

While most children tend to not get very sick if they become infected with COVID-19, children across the country and in South Carolina have become severely ill and have died from COVID-19.

Children who have COVID-19, whether they become ill with symptoms or not, can easily spread the virus to other people in their home, at school, and in their community.

COVID-19 vaccines help protect children ages 12 and older, and getting them vaccinated helps bring our entire state, and country, one step closer to returning to the way things were before the pandemic.

  • Currently, the Pfizer (two-shot) vaccine is the only COVID-19 vaccine available for those 12 and older.
  • The Moderna (two-shot) vaccine and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson (one-shot) vaccine are for those 18 and older.

Yes. We know COVID-19 vaccines are safe for those 12 and older just like they are for adults.

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and have been authorized for protecting public health under the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history, including clinical trials and studies with young people 12 and older.

  • Your child can’t get COVID-19 from any COVID-19 vaccine. None of the authorized vaccines contain a live SARS-CoV-2 virus.
  • COVID-19 vaccines teach our bodies how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. It typically takes two weeks after vaccination for the body to build immunity against COVID-19.
  • Your child will need to get two shots of the Pfizer vaccine at least 21 days apart in order to as fully protected as possible against COVID-19.

For some people, yes. Other people experience no side effects. Side effects are a sign that your body is building protection and can occur with many different types of vaccinations.

  • Side effects are typically mild to moderate, occur within the first 3 days beginning the day of the vaccination, and go away within 1-2 days. Some people have no side effects at all.
  • Common side effects on the arm where you received the shot include pain, redness, and swelling. Throughout the rest of your body, you may feel tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea.
  • Talk to your vaccine provider or doctor first, but most side effects can be lessened with non-aspirin over-the-counter medications.
  • It is not recommended you give pain relievers before vaccination for the purpose of trying to prevent side effects.

Currently, the Pfizer (two-shot) vaccine is the only COVID-19 vaccine available for those 12 and older. The Moderna (two-shot) vaccine and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson (one-shot) vaccine are for those 18 and older. · You can find a vaccine provider by using DHEC’s vax locator map, or you can call our Vaccine Information Line at 1-866-365-8110 from 7 a.m.-7 p.m., seven days a week, for help finding a vaccine provider near you.

  • In South Carolina, those 16 and older can get a vaccine without the consent from a parent or legal guardian.
  • For those age 12-15, they do need a parental or legal guardian consent form completed before they can receive their vaccine. Vaccine providers have their own consent forms; there isn’t one single consent form used across the state. DHEC’s consent form for DHEC vaccination clinics is available here; this form can’t be used at a non-DHEC vaccination clinic.
  • Parents or legal guardians aren’t required to be present when the child 12 or older receives their shot as long as the vaccine provider approves of the completed consent form. However, we encourage family members to be there to support their child as they receive their shot.

Getting your COVID-19 vaccine is free. The federal government is providing the vaccine free of charge to all people living in the United States. A vaccine provider may ask you for insurance so they can be paid for giving you the shot, but you don’t have to show insurance and no one can be turned away.

Vaccine providers cannot:

  • Charge you for the vaccine.
  • Charge you any administration fees, copays, coinsurance, or the balance of the bill after appropriate reimbursement.
  • Deny vaccination to anyone who does not have health insurance coverage, is underinsured, or is out of network.
  • Charge an office visit or other fee to the recipient if the only service provided is a COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Require additional services in order for a person to receive a COVID-19 vaccine; however, additional healthcare services can be provided at the same time and billed as appropriate.

  • Get tips for how to support your child before, during, and after the visit.
  • Talk to your child before the visit about what to expect.
  • Tell the doctor or nurse about any allergies your child may have.
  • Comfort your child during the appointment.
  • After your child’s COVID-19 vaccination, you will be asked to stay for 15–30 minutes so your child can be observed in case they have a severe allergic reaction and need immediate treatment.

No. The COVID-19 vaccine currently is not a requirement, although other immunizations are required for children in day care and schools.

Help Protect Your Child and Your Family

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can help prevent your child from getting sick with COVID-19. Help protect your whole family by getting yourself and your children 12 years and older vaccinated. COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and they’re how we beat COVID-19 and get back to normal once and for all.

People who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic. Learn more about how important the COVID-19 vaccines are by reading myths and facts about the COVID-19 vaccines here.

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