COVID-19 vaccinations now available for kids under 5

Children can now get vaccinated with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine if they are 6 months or older.

Schedule your child’s vaccination.

Get vaccinated – it’s safe, effective, and free. Vaccination is an important tool to end the COVID-19 pandemic.

On this page:

 

How to get vaccinated:

My Turn

Check myturn.ca.gov or call 1-833-422-4255 to book an appointment or find a walk-in site near you.

Vaccines.gov

Use the CDC’s Vaccines.gov to book an appointment or find a walk-in site near you.

You can also check with your healthcare provider or local pharmacy.


Who can get vaccinated

Any Californian aged 6 months and older can get vaccinated, for free. 

Your immigration or insurance status does not matter. No one will ask about your immigration status when you get vaccinated.


How COVID-19 vaccines work

A woman gets a bandage on her arm after vaccination

Vaccines are highly effective at preventing severe illness from COVID-19, including hospitalization and death.

COVID-19 vaccines teach our immune systems how to fight the virus that causes COVID-19. It is still possible to get COVID-19 after vaccination. But your symptoms will likely be much less severe, helping you avoid hospitalization and death. 

What we know

  • Vaccinations can prevent most COVID-19-related hospitalizations and deaths.
  • COVID-19 vaccines are effective against many variants of the virus.
  • People with weakened immune systems may not be protected even if vaccinated.

What we’re still learning

  • How long COVID-19 vaccine protection lasts

Once you’re vaccinated

Vaccination makes it safer to return to activities you did before the pandemic. But stay aware of public health recommendations that still apply to you.

Read more from CDPH:


Vaccines and variants

Vaccination has proven very effective against COVID-19 variants. The best thing we can do to protect ourselves from getting very sick from COVID-19 is to:

  • Get vaccinated
  • Get your booster(s) when you’re eligible

See variants now present in California.

More info about COVID-19 variants from CDPH:


Booster shots and additional doses

Booster shots

Booster shots are now available for everyone 5 and older.

Get a booster shot as soon as you’re eligible:

  • If you got a Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, get a booster shot after 5 months
  • If you got a Johnson & Johnson vaccine, get a booster shot after 2 months

Your booster shot can be a different vaccine brand than you got in your original series. A Pfizer or Moderna booster is strongly advised for those who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Those aged 5-17 can only get a Pfizer booster.

To book your booster shot or find a walk-in clinic, visit My Turn.

See why the CDC urges you to stay up to date with your vaccines.

Read more booster facts and booster questions and answers from CDPH.

Second booster shots

The CDC now recommends a second booster shot with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for:

  • People over 50
  • Those 12 or older who are immune-compromised

Second booster doses are available for:

  • Those who got two doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine

You must have gotten your first booster dose at least 4 months ago. See if you’re eligible.

Additional doses

Additional doses of Pfizer or Moderna are available for those with compromised immunity. 

This includes people who:

  • Get active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • Got an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Got a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Have moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Have advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Get active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that suppress the immune response

Children aged 5-11 with these conditions can get an additional dose of Pfizer.

Talk to your doctor to see if getting an additional dose is right for you. If you meet these criteria, you can book your shot at My Turn.

See questions and answers about additional doses.


Digital vaccine record 

You can now get a digital copy of your vaccination record. This is called the Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record (DCVR). It’s available to you if:

  • You got vaccinated in California, and 
  • Your information matches what is recorded in the state’s immunization systems.

 To get your vaccine record:

This digital copy can be used as proof of vaccination. 

See Frequently Asked Questions to learn more about your digital vaccine record.

If you have trouble getting your record

If you couldn’t get your vaccine record, you may need to correct or add some information.

What might prevent you from getting your COVID-19 vaccination record:

  • Your vaccination site does not report to the state’s immunization systems
  • Your vaccination site didn’t report your vaccination
  • The information you entered doesn’t match your record in the registry

To correct or update your vaccine record, start an online chat with My Turn’s Virtual Assistant.

Read CDPH’s Vaccine Record Guidelines & Standards for more information.


Side effects

After COVID-19 vaccination, you may have some mild side effects. These are normal signs that your body is building immunity. More serious side effects rarely happen.

Mild side effects

Common mild side effects include: 

  • Soreness, redness, or swelling where you got the shot
  • Feeling tired, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, or nausea

Side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but should go away in a few days. Some people have no side effects.

Rare but serious side effects

Blood clots

Rarely, women under 50 who get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have a risk of blood clots with low platelets. This risk is not seen in other COVID-19 vaccines. Read CDPH’s Fact Sheet: Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine Benefits and Risks.

Myocarditis and pericarditis

Some young people have developed inflammation of heart muscle or membrane after getting Pfizer or Moderna. Because this is very rare, the CDC says the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the risks. 

Some people may consider waiting 8 weeks between doses of Moderna or Pfizer. More time between doses may reduce the risk of myocarditis. Males aged 12-39 may benefit the most from waiting 8 weeks.

Read more in these CDPH fact sheets:

Reporting side effects of vaccines

If you have experienced a side effect after COVID-19 vaccination, you can report it to:

  • VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System)
  • V-safe (After Vaccination Health Checker)

When to call the doctor

In most cases, discomfort from pain or fever is a normal sign that your body is building protection. Contact your doctor or healthcare provider if:

  • The redness or tenderness where you got the shot gets worse after 24 hours
  • Your side effects are worrying you or do not seem to be going away after a few days

If you get a COVID-19 vaccine and you have a severe reaction, seek immediate medical care by calling 911. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and rare severe allergic reactions.

Read more in the CDC’s Possible Side Effects After Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine.


Questions and answers

Getting vaccinated

How many COVID-19 vaccine doses do I need, and how far apart should I get them?

The following dosage is for adults who are not immune-compromised.

For Pfizer:

  • Two doses 3-8 weeks apart, then
  • First booster shot 5 months later, then
  • For people age 50+, a second booster shot 4 months later

For Moderna:

  • Two doses 4-8 weeks apart, then  
  • First booster shot 5 months later, then
  • For people age 50+, a second booster shot 4 months later

Talk to your healthcare or vaccine provider about the timing for the second dose in your primary series. You should not get the second dose early.

For Johnson & Johnson:

  • One dose, then 
  • First booster shot 2 months later, then
  • Second booster shot 4 months later if the first booster shot was the Johnson & Johnson vaccine

The CDC now recommends the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine instead of Johnson & Johnson. These are also the preferred booster doses for those who first got Johnson & Johnson.

Children under 6 may receive either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Children 6 to 17 may only get the Pfizer vaccine.

People who are immune-compromised need additional doses at different times. See the CDC’s vaccine recommendations for the immune-compromised.

Read Booster shots and additional doses to see if you are eligible.

Can I mix and match COVID-19 vaccines from different manufacturers?

Yes, after you complete your first vaccination series. In the United States, that means:

  • Two shots of the Pfizer vaccine, or 
  • Two shots of the Moderna vaccine, or 
  • One shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Then you may choose another vaccine to receive as a booster dose. Some people may prefer the vaccine they got before, and others may prefer to get a different booster. CDC recommendations now allow for this type of mix-and-match dosing for booster doses.

Children aged 5-17 may only get the Pfizer vaccine.

A Pfizer or Moderna booster is strongly advised for those who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

What if I was vaccinated outside the United States? Can I get a vaccination or a booster here?

Yes. Here’s what the CDC recommends:

  • If you were vaccinated outside the U.S. with a vaccine approved or authorized by the FDA, you can get a second dose, booster dose, or additional dose. You must follow U.S. eligibility and timing schedules.
  • If you got one or both doses of a World Health Organization (WHO) Emergency Use Listed (EUL) vaccine, you can get a second dose, booster dose, or additional dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. You must follow U.S. eligibility and timing schedules.
  • If you got a COVID-19 vaccine that’s not WHO-EUL, you should start over. Get an FDA-authorized/approved vaccine and follow its timing schedule.

Schedule your vaccination at My Turn.

How much will the COVID-19 vaccine cost? 

Nothing. COVID-19 vaccinations are free.

Do I need to be a California resident to get a COVID-19 vaccine?

No. Vaccine eligibility is based on age. Residency or immigration status does not matter.

How do I cancel or reschedule my vaccine appointment through My Turn?

If you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment, you can do so on the Manage your appointments page.

You will be asked to confirm your appointment with:

  • Your appointment confirmation number, and 
  • Either your cell phone number or your email address.

I’ve already had COVID-19. Should I get a COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes. The CDC recommends that people who have already had COVID-19 get a COVID-19 vaccine. 

We do not know how long your protection lasts from getting infected again after you recover. People who get vaccinated after infection have additional protection against COVID-19.

One study showed that unvaccinated people who already had COVID-19 are more than twice as likely as vaccinated people to get it again.

Can I get vaccinated against COVID-19 while I am currently sick with COVID-19?

No. Wait until you have recovered and have met the criteria for ending isolation. This guidance also applies to people who get COVID-19 between their first and second dose.

Will COVID-19 vaccine sites be accessible?

Yes. All vaccine clinics in California are required to meet ADA requirements.

How do I get a COVID-19 vaccine at home if I am unable to travel to a vaccine site?

Check with your healthcare provider, local health department, or local pharmacy. 

If you cannot leave your home, you can state this when booking on myturn.ca.gov or when calling 1-833-422-4255. If eligible, your local health department will arrange for your in-home vaccination.

How do I get transportation to a vaccine site?

If you do not have a way to get to a vaccination site, you can receive free transportation through:

Transportation options include:

  • Car transportation for ambulatory patients
  • Non-emergency medical transportation for non-ambulatory patients, including 
    • Wheelchair vans
    • Gurney transportation, and other options. 

You can also check with your doctor, local health department, or pharmacy.

If you have Medi-Cal managed care, you can get a ride through your health plan or doctor. Contact your plan’s member service department to ask for transportation.

If you get Medi-Cal through Fee-for-Service (FFS), you can get a list of transportation in your county. Contact them directly to arrange transportation to your appointments. 

If you have no provider, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) can assist. Email them at DHCSNMT@dhcs.ca.gov. Do NOT include personal information in your first email. DHCS staff will reply with a secure email asking for more information. 

If you need non-emergency medical transportation, inform your doctor. They can prescribe this service and put you in touch with transportation.

What to expect after vaccination

Will I need a booster vaccination?

Yes. It’s recommended that you get a booster shot as soon as you’re eligible:

  • If you got a Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, get a booster shot after 5 months
  • If you got a Johnson & Johnson vaccine, get a booster shot after 2 months

Your booster shot can be a different vaccine brand than you received before. A Pfizer or Moderna booster is strongly advised for those who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Moderna and Johnson & Johnson booster shots are only for those 18 and older. Pfizer booster shots can be given to those aged 5 and older.

Second booster shots are available if you are aged 50 or older, if you are 12 and older and are immune-compromised, or if you got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for your initial dose and your first booster dose. You should get this second booster only if it has been 4 months since your first booster shot.

Californians can schedule their booster shot or find a walk-in clinic at My Turn. Read more about booster shots and booster questions and answers from CDPH.

The CDC recommends additional doses of Pfizer or Moderna for those with compromised immunity. This includes those who: 

  • Get active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • Got an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Got a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Have moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Have advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Get active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that suppress immune response

Children aged 5 and older with these conditions can get an additional dose of Pfizer.

Talk to your doctor to see if getting an additional dose is right for you. If you meet these criteria, you can book your dose at My Turn.

See questions and answers about additional doses.

What is acceptable as proof of vaccination?

The following are acceptable: 

  • Original DHHS CDC COVID-19 vaccination record card, which includes:
    • Name of person vaccinated
    • Date of birth 
    • Type of vaccine provided
    • Lot number
    • Date last dose administered
    • Site where administered
  • A photo or paper copy of your DHHS CDC COVID-19 vaccination record card
  • A photo of your vaccination record card stored on a phone or other electronic device
  • Paper or digital documentation of vaccination from a healthcare provider or other issuer.
  • A Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record (DCVR). 

Read CDPH’s Vaccine Record Guidelines & Standards for complete details.

What does it mean to have completed your primary series?

People are considered to have completed their primary series of COVID-19 vaccinations:

  • After they receive two doses in a 2-dose series (Pfizer or Moderna), or
  • After they receive a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson).

Will the COVID-19 vaccine make me test positive for COVID-19?

No. A vaccine will not cause you to test positive on viral tests.

If your body develops an immune response, you may test positive on antibody tests. This shows that you may have protection against the virus.

How is my privacy protected if I take the COVID-19 vaccine?

California law strictly limits how personal information can be shared. The state prevents individuals being identified in shared data.

Read more at CDPH’s California Data Use Agreement and Frequently Asked Questions.

Should I keep my COVID-19 vaccination record card?

Yes. Keep your vaccination record card in a safe place to prevent loss or damage

The Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record (DCVR) portal gives you a digital copy of this record. If you’ve lost your paper card, print out your digital record. You can use it at any place where you would show your paper card.

Read CDPH’s Vaccine Record Guidelines & Standards for complete details.

If I get a booster shot or additional dose, will it show on my digital vaccine record?

They will not automatically show on your digital vaccine record. You will need to go to the Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record portal to get a new QR code.

Wait 14 days for your new dose to show up in the California Immunization Registry before you try to get a new QR code.

Vaccination for children

Do providers need parental consent before administering a COVID-19 vaccine to a minor?    

Yes. Before vaccinating a minor, vaccine providers must get consent from a:

  • Parent, 
  • Legal guardian, or 
  • Other adults having legal custody. 

There are some exceptions:

  • Emancipated minors do not need the consent of a parent or guardian to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Providers may accept written consent. It must be from the parent or legal guardian of an unaccompanied minor. This consent must verify the parent/guardian has received the Pfizer EUA Fact Sheet.
  • Phone or video consent is acceptable. The parent/guardian must confirm that they received the Pfizer EUA Fact Sheet. Reading the fact sheet to the parent/guardian is an option.

Families should check with their vaccine provider on acceptable forms of consent. See CDPH’s Pfizer Vaccine Minor Consent Guidance for more details.

Why should I vaccinate my child?

Cases in children are increasing. We must get young people vaccinated to prevent more hospitalizations and deaths.

Vaccinations protect children from the most severe outcomes of COVID-19, such as MIS-C, hospitalization, and death. They can also shrink the pool of people vulnerable to COVID-19. By getting children 6 months and up vaccinated, families can be safer as we get back to doing the things we love.

My child has had reactions to other vaccines. Should they still get the vaccine?

Yes, unless they have had life-threatening allergic (anaphylactic) reactions to components of the Pfizer vaccine. Allergic reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine are rare. Talk to your child’s doctor before vaccination if they’ve had:   

  • Severe allergies
  • Flu vaccination reactions

Can children who have pre-existing conditions like asthma get vaccinated?

Children aged 6 months and up can still receive the COVID-19 vaccine even if they have health conditions. Talk to your doctor or clinic about your child’s specific conditions.

Why did it take longer for the COVID-19 vaccine to be approved for youth?

New vaccines and medicines are typically given to adults first for safety reasons. When they are found to be safe and effective, they are given to children.

Clinical trials prove the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective in adults and children. It results in a strong antibody response in children who received the vaccines.

Vaccinations for employees

I’m an employer and want to help my employees get vaccinated. How do I do that?

The Employer Vaccination Toolkit provides all the information you need to:

  • Partner with local providers for offsite vaccination events
  • Request a worksite mobile clinic
  • Help employees find and book vaccination appointments
  • Share and promote resources that support employees in getting vaccinated

Can an employer require COVID-19 vaccination for all employees entering a workplace?

Yes, if certain requirements are met. Under the ADA, an employer may insist all employees to meet a standard that is:

  • Job-related, and 
  • Meets a business need

This could include a safety-related standard requiring COVID-19 vaccination.

If an employee cannot be vaccinated because of a disability, the employer may not require them to. The exception to that is if the employee’s non-compliance poses a threat to their health or safety or that of others in the workplace.

Read more:

Are people with certain jobs required to be vaccinated?

Vaccine limitations

If I get a COVID-19 vaccine, will I still need a flu shot?

Yes. COVID-19 vaccine does not provide protection against flu.

Are there certain populations who should not get a COVID-19 vaccine? What about people with allergies?

The CDC recommends that:

  • If you had a severe reaction to an mRNA vaccine or its ingredients:
    • Do not get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. 
    • Ask your doctor if you can get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
  • If you had a severe reaction to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or its ingredients:
    • Do not get it again. 
    • Ask your doctor if you can get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
  • If you had an immediate allergic reaction after getting the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, but the reaction was not considered severe by a medical professional:
    • You likely can receive another dose of the same vaccine under certain conditions. Ask your doctor for additional care or advice.  
  • If you are allergic to PEG:
    • Do not get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
    • Ask your doctor if you can get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
  • If you are allergic to polysorbate:
    • Do not get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
    • Ask your doctor if you can get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

People with medical conditions can get vaccinated, as long as they are not allergic to vaccine ingredients. Learn more about vaccination considerations for people with underlying medical conditions.

To learn about the ingredients in authorized COVID-19 vaccines, see

If I’m pregnant or breastfeeding, should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes. The CDC strongly recommends that if you’re pregnant, could be pregnant, or are breastfeeding, you should get vaccinated. If you get COVID-19 while you are pregnant, you are more likely to get severely ill. Additionally, you are at increased risk of complications that can affect your pregnancy and developing baby, including premature birth.  

The vaccines are safe for you and your baby.

Talk to your doctor if you have questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

For more information, read:

How long should I wait to get the vaccine after I’ve had COVID-19?

The CDC recommends that if you tested positive, had only mild symptoms, and were not treated, you should:

You could consider waiting 90 days to get the vaccine if you recently recovered from COVID-19 infection, but waiting is not required.

Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as another vaccine?

Yes, you can get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines (like for the flu) at the same visit. You no longer need to wait 14 days between different vaccinations. Learn more about getting more than one kind of vaccine.

Vaccine choices

Will I have a choice between the various COVID-19 vaccines?

Yes. Both My Turn and Vaccines.gov allow you to search for vaccines by manufacturer.

Read CDPH’s Choosing the COVID-19 Vaccine That is Right for You.

If you’re getting a booster shot, you can choose to get a different vaccine brand than you originally got.

Are the COVID-19 vaccines FDA-approved?

Two are. Pfizer’s vaccine, now named Comirnaty, has full FDA approval for use in anyone aged 16 and up. The Moderna vaccine is approved for those aged 18 and up.

The FDA can allow using vaccines before full approval. This is called an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). It lets us respond quickly to emergency situations like a pandemic. EUAs still involve rigorous testing for safety and effectiveness.

The Pfizer vaccine has an EUA for use in children aged 6 months to 15 years. The Moderna vaccine has an EUA for use in children aged 6 months to 17 years. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has an EUA for use in anyone aged 18 and up.

Do I need to be vaccinated to visit a healthcare facility?

How can I convince my family and friends to take a COVID-19 vaccine?

Talking with family and friends about the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine can be hard. Try to listen without judgment and identify the root of their concerns. Things to remember to help open the discussion include:

  • Listen to questions with empathy
  • Ask open-ended questions to explore concerns
  • Ask permission to share information
  • Help them find their own reason to get vaccinated
  • Help make their vaccination happen

Read the CDC’s How to talk about COVID-19 vaccines with friends and family.


Stay informed