two children with masks posing after receiving the vaccine

Last Thursday, we hosted a vaccine town hall for people to get their vaccine questions answered. You can view the town hall recording online.

We pulled together the top 5 questions we received during the town hall (and answers!).

What’s the difference between the vaccine for 5-11 year olds and the vaccine for people 12+?

The dose for 5-11 year olds determined to be safe and effective during clinical trials was 1/3 of the dose for people 12+. The vaccine was over 90% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infection. Side effects in 5-11 year olds are similar to adults; a sore arm, fatigue, and headache are common and most often resolve within a few days. 

From the CDC: “COVID-19 vaccines have been used under the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. Scientists have conducted clinical trials with thousands of children, and the results show that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.”

My child is on the cusp of turning 12. Should I get them vaccinated now or wait?

In general, we recommend getting the dose that is available now rather than waiting. Getting the vaccine earlier leaves less chance your child will get COVID. Realistically, your child won’t grow or change substantially in a couple of months, so either dose should still be effective. If you’re still not sure, we recommend talking to your doctor to get advice specific to your child.

Are there enough pediatric doses or will there be limited supply?

We have a lot more vaccine now than when we first started vaccinating adults. Wisconsin has initially received roughly 4 times more vaccine proportionately than we received for adults. The limiting factor is how quickly we can give the vaccine, but thankfully there are a lot of places that are prepared to give the vaccine out, including health care and many local pharmacies.  What took months with adults will likely take just weeks for 5-11 year olds!

My child has COVID. When can they get vaccinated?

You should wait until your child no longer has to isolate before getting their first or second dose. This is when it’s been at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared, if it’s been at least 24 hours without a fever and without taking fever-reducing medications, and other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving. If your child does not have symptoms, you should wait until it’s been at least 10 days since your child tested positive.

Where can I find a vaccine for my 5-11 year old?

Even with a lot of supply, it is taking a little searching right now to find a vaccine for 5-11 year olds. We recommend checking our website in the mornings for appointments, as well as checking with your health care provider and school district about any vaccine offerings. You can also go to and find a vaccinator near you—you might be near a vaccinator and not even realize it (like a pharmacy in a grocery store).

Check our website to book an appointment:

Find another vaccinator:

This content is free for use with credit to the City of Madison - Public Health Madison & Dane County and a link back to the original post.