Wake County Public Health encourages parents to protect their children aged 6 months and older with the COVID-19 vaccine – it's safe, effective and easy!
Appointments are REQUIRED for all children
You can make an appointment by calling our COVID-19 hotline at 919-250-1500 Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.–4 p.m.
Bring your health insurance card and your child's COVID-19 vaccine card to your appointment. COVID-19 vaccination is covered by most health insurance. If you do not have health insurance, let our staff know. COVID-19 vaccines may be available at no cost for your child.
Pediatrician offices, pharmacies and children's hospitals are providing vaccine appointments for children in Wake County.
Find other locations near you:
We understand you may have questions about the vaccine. That's why we created the FAQ below to help provide you with answers.
How can I get the COVID-19 vaccine for my child aged 6 months or older?
Wake County Public Health is one of many vaccine providers in Wake County. Find a vaccination location near you at NC Vaccine Finder.
Why are there updated COVID-19 vaccines?
The FDA and CDC approved updated COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech in September 2023. These vaccines target the COVID-19 variants that are currently circulating. The updated vaccines were created to provide better protection against serious illness due to COVID-19.
What side effects can my child get from the vaccine?
The side effects for children are very similar to adults. After being vaccinated, some children reported temporary reactions, such as swelling from the injection, tiredness or feeling bad for a day or two. These are normal symptoms and signs of a proper immune response, similar to those experienced when receiving other routine vaccinations. These reactions typically last no longer than a day and a half. Your child cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine. Please consult your pediatrician if you have any concerns about the way your child is feeling after vaccination.
Contact your doctor or healthcare provider:
- If the redness or tenderness where your child got the shot gets WORSE after 24 hours
- If your child's side effects are worrying you or do not seem to be going away after a few days
If your child gets a COVID-19 vaccine and you think your child might be having a severe allergic reaction after leaving the vaccination site, seek immediate medical care by calling 911.
What should my child do after the vaccine?
Your child may have redness, swelling from the injection, or tiredness for a day or two. These are normal symptoms and signs of a proper immune response, similar to those experienced when receiving other routine vaccinations.
Over-the-counter medicine is available for any pain and discomfort your child may experience after getting vaccinated. Note that your child can take these medications to relieve post-vaccination side effects if they have no other medical reasons that prevent them from taking these medications normally.
How do we know the COVID-19 vaccines are safe for kids?
Children across the country have participated in the vaccine trials, and the research indicates that it's safe. The COVID-19 vaccine is a safe and effective way to protect your child from getting very ill or hospitalized due to COVID-19. Over 80% of adults in Wake County have already received the COVID-19 vaccine without any serious side effects. Children are receiving the same vaccine, only in a smaller dose for smaller bodies.
Before being authorized for use by the FDA, each COVID-19 vaccine was tested through three phases of clinical trials. The data was carefully reviewed by the FDA and their advisory committee (VRBPAC), the CDC, and their advisory committee (ACIP). The FDA and CDC carefully reviewed the data from the clinical trials and agree that the benefits of the COVID vaccines greatly outweigh the risks.
After being authorized/approved for use by the FDA and recommended by CDC, COVID vaccines continue to be closely monitored for safety using established systems like VAERS, VSD and CISA, along with new safety monitoring systems like V-Safe. According to CDC, "these vaccines have undergone and will continue to undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history."
Is it okay to get the COVID-19 vaccine for my child with autism, health condition like diabetes, obesity, diabetes or asthma?
Yes. It is safe for children with health conditions to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine will protect our most vulnerable kids. Protecting kids with underlying conditions, such as obesity, diabetes and asthma, is extra important. These children might be at higher risk of serious illness with COVID-19. In addition, children who have congenital heart disease, genetic conditions or conditions affecting the nervous system or metabolism also might be at higher risk of serious illness with COVID-19.
How do we know there will not be long-term side effects from the vaccine?
Vaccine side effects primarily happen within six weeks of a dose. That's why the FDA studied people who receive the vaccine, including children, for at least two months after the last dose to watch for any side effects. Listen to this great response from a vaccine researcher at the Vaccine Education Center.
Please sign-up for V-Safe, a symptom checker that will send you occasional texts to ask you how your child is feeling and allow you to report any symptoms. It's critically important, and it only takes two minutes to answer the questions. It's the best way to help keep vaccines safe. Go to vsafe.cdc.gov to sign up.
Is there a cost for the COVID-19 vaccine?
Bring your health insurance card (Medicaid, Medicare, private insurance) to your COVID-19 vaccination appointment. Most health insurance will cover the cost of the COVID-19 vaccine. If you or your child is uninsured, let the Wake County Public Health staff know. COVID-19 vaccines may be available at no cost for uninsured individuals.
Will kids still get COVID-19 after getting the vaccine?
Maybe. Vaccines protect the vaccinated from serious illness and hospitalization. However, there is still a chance that your child will get a mild or asymptomatic case of COVID-19. Evidence shows that getting the COVID-19 vaccine also helps reduce the spreading of the illness.
Is it safe for my child to get a flu shot and a COVID-19 vaccine at the same time?
Yes! The CDC and FDA have determined it is safe to get both a COVID-19 vaccine and a flu shot at the same time. If you have concerns about your child getting both vaccines at the same time, you should speak with their healthcare provider.
Prepare for the Shot
My child is scared of shots. How can I help keep them calm?
Try these simple tips to help your child get the COVID-19 vaccine:
- Be Honest And Calm – Kids are smart. Prepare them for the vaccine visit a few days before the appointment. Explain that they may feel a little pinch, and it will go away very fast. Use words like "pressure" or "poke" rather than "pain" or "shot." Remain upbeat and relaxed before, during, and especially after shots.
- Sweet Treat – Tasting something sweet can help reduce the pain response from a shot. For example, give our child a small piece of candy 2 minutes before the shot. Even a very small amount can help reduce pain during shots.
- Hug Them – Embracing your child will help them relax and move less. Keep them still by holding your child on your lap or have the child stand in front of you as you sit. Embrace your child during the process.
- Distract Your Child – Right before the shot, call your child's name, sing your child's favorite song, or act plain silly to pull your child's attention away from the shot giver. Then, keep the distraction going after the vaccine is given.
- High Five – Give your child and yourself a high-five! You just protected your child with the COVID-19 vaccine. Your community thanks you!