As of April 1, those 16 and older will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Connecticut. During the vaccine distribution, Yale New Haven Health is allocating extra doses to patients with medical conditions considered high risk with COVID-19 infection. However, eligible medical conditions for 16 and 17 year old patients may be different compared to the eligible medical conditions for adult patients. 

For a full list of medical conditions and for answers to some frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and kids, read more below.

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General COVID-19 Vaccine Information

The Pfizer vaccine is indicated for children 16 years and older. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved for those who are 18 years and older. However, clinical trials are underway with younger children, so hopefully more data will become available about the vaccine’s safety and efficacy for kids in the coming months.

Typically when you have a new product that’s coming to market, the first place you want to test it for safety is in older, healthy adults. In this case, there’s an added benefit because we know adults are more likely to develop more severe cases of COVID-19. So it makes a lot of sense to start with adults.

The COVID-19 vaccine is made differently compared to other common vaccines. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are mRNA vaccines, which use genetic material from the virus. Cells from our body use the genetic material to make protein that stimulates our immune system, so that we can produce the antibodies that protect us. Like some other vaccinations, these vaccines do not contain live virus, so there is NO risk of getting COVID-19 from the vaccine.

We’re very lucky in this case, in that the studies show the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are about 95% effective in the clinical trials, which is exceptional. It’s still unclear if that number will hold up when it’s introduced to the larger population, but there are studies underway that will answer that question.

If you are someone who is in a high-risk group, talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits and consider getting the COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes available to you. That’s the best thing you can do to prevent COVID-19 from entering the household.

While you’re waiting for the vaccine, it’s important to continue to maintain social distancing protocols, wear masks and wash hands. If you do become sick, isolate yourself and get tested for COVID-19.

Everyone has a little bit of pandemic fatigue at this point and it’s exceedingly difficult to continue to stay home. Unfortunately, we still have a lot of community transmission not only across the country but in the state of Connecticut. As we roll out the vaccine, better days are ahead. But we still need to be vigilant for the next few months.

16 and Older Eligibility Guidelines

The only vaccine that received Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA for those 16 and older is the Pfizer vaccine. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are currently for those 18 and older.

Yes. The Pfizer vaccine was studied in participants as young as 16 before receiving EUA from the FDA. Currently, clinical trials are underway with younger children. In the coming months we hope to learn more about the safety and efficacy of these vaccines in kids as young as 6 months old.

When you schedule your vaccine appointment online, you will be asked to verify your age and attest to any co-morbidities. Then, you will be able to see the appropriate appointments for the Pfizer vaccine. 

 A parent or legal guardian must provide consent at the time of vaccination.

If possible, please bring a photo ID such as a driver’s permit, license, or passport. If you do not have a government issued ID, you can bring another form of identification such as a school ID. 

We are recommending everyone who is eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine. However, if you have specific health concerns, such as a history of allergies, please speak with your pediatrician before making your vaccine appointment.

Pediatric High-Risk Medical Conditions

  • Severe Congenital Heart Disease
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Pulmonary Hypertension
  • Diabetes-poorly controlled, HBA1C 10 or more
  • Tracheostomy dependent or sialorrhea
  • IBD on Intense Immunosuppression
  • Status post liver or small bowel transplant
  • Sickle Cell Disease
  • Patients on Chemotherapy or completed within 3 months
  • Chronic Kidney Disease Stages 2-5
  • Severe Cerebral Palsy
  • Epilepsy
  • Degenerative Neuro Muscular Disease
  • Chronic respiratory disease on daily maintenance therapy including Asthma and CF
  • Obesity ([BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher)
  • SLE
  • Combined Immunodeficiency
  • Complement Deficiencies
  • Auto Immune Disorders
  • Patient with severe immunodeficiency
  • Down Syndrome or other Trisomy
  • Organ Failure/Organ Transplant (lung, kidney, liver & heart)