Decision aid (5–15 years): Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine for my child?

This decision aid is designed to help you decide whether COVID-19 vaccination is right for your child. In five simple steps, it will give you the information you need about the virus and the vaccine, and help you think about what the risks and benefits of vaccination mean for your family.

What are my options?


Tick My child gets the COVID-19 vaccine now

Clock My child waits to get the COVID-19 vaccine

Cross My child doesn’t get the COVID-19 vaccine

We have also produced a decision aid for people aged 16 and over. If you want to think about whether COVID-19 vaccination is right for you, change to the COVID-19 Decision Aid (16+ years).

Who developed this decision aid?

Dr Jane Frawley

PhD, MClinScience, GradCertAppSc, BHSc

Jane is a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Fellow and Senior Lecturer in Public Health at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). She has an interest in health and well-being across the life stages. Jane's current work looks at decision making, communication, vaccination and outcomes from infectious disease.

Dr Kerrie Wiley

PhD, MSc Med (Clinical Epidemiology), BSc (Biomedical)

Kerrie is a social scientist working in vaccine research, policy and practice. Her research focuses on maternal and childhood vaccination. Kerrie is a member of the World Health Organization’s expert working group on the Social and Behavioural Determinants of Vaccination.

Professor Julie Leask

PhD, MPH, Dip Health Sci (Nursing), Midwifery Cert

Julie is a social scientist specialising in vaccination. Her research focuses on how people make decisions about vaccination and how risk is communicated. She currently chairs the World Health Organization’s Measuring Behavioural and Social Drivers of Vaccination working group. In 2019, Julie was named overall winner of the Australian Financial Review 100 Women of Influence.

Professor Kirsten McCaffery

PhD, BSc Hons Psych, FAHMS

Kirsten is a Principal Research Fellow at the Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney. Her research focuses on health communication and behaviour change. Since April 2020, Kirsten has expanded her work to include infectious disease, and COVID-19 health communication.

Associate Professor Holly Seale

PhD, MPH, BSc (Biomedical)

Holly is a social scientist whose work focuses on supporting vaccine uptake, and other infection control strategies. She is the Deputy Chair of the Collaboration on Social Science and Immunisation (COSSI). Holly is a member of the World Health Organization’s expert working group on the Social and Behavioural Determinants of Vaccination.

Associate Professor Margie Danchin


Margie is a paediatrician who works to improve vaccine uptake. She is the Chair of the Collaboration on Social Science in Immunisation group (COSSI). Margie is part of the COVID-19 vaccine safety, confidence and evaluation working group of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) and the steering committee of the Australian Regional Immunisation Alliance (ARIA).

Dr Abela Mahimbo


Abela is an early career health services researcher at University of Technology Sydney. She has an interest in refugee and multicultural health, immunisation and infectious disease. Abela also works to turn research findings into real-life outcomes for the community.

Professor Lyndal Trevena

PhD, MBBS(Hons), MPhilPH

Lyndal is a General Practitioner with a passion for helping people to make decisions about their health. She is a member of the International Patient Decision Aids Standards (IPDAS) group. Lyndal works with several national and state agencies to support the rights of patients in Australian healthcare. She currently provides pro bono healthcare and advocacy to asylum seekers and refugees in Sydney. Lyndal recently retired from the University of Sydney.

Dr Jessica Kaufman


Jess is a public health research fellow. Her work focuses on vaccine communication and strategies to increase vaccine acceptance. She is a member of the steering committee for the Collaboration on Social Science and Immunisation (COSSI) and the Australian Regional Immunisation Alliance (ARIA).

  • What is a decision aid?

    Decision aids can help you make decisions about your health.1 They do three things to prepare you to make a decision:

    They give you information about a medicine or health problem and outline the available options. 

    They help you work out what matters most (your ‘values’). 

    They help you share your thoughts and values with your healthcare provider and others. This means that you can plan a course of action that matches your values. 

    Decision aids do not direct you to choose one option over another.2  

    We developed this patient decision aid using the decision support format of the Ottawa Health Decision Centre at the University of Ottawa and Ottawa Health Research Institute, Ontario, Canada.1 

  • Is this decision aid right for me?

    This decision aid contains information relating specifically to children (aged 5-15). If you are making a decision about vaccination for yourself, we recommend that you use the COVID-19 Decision Aid (16+ years).

  • Where did our research come from?

    We used the best available research about COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccines to develop this decision aid. First, we looked closely at the research studies from around the world to find out what happens when a child gets COVID-19 or has the COVID-19 vaccine. Then we reviewed all the research and summarised it in this decision aid.

    Other countries approved the COVID-19 vaccine for children earlier than Australia, giving us good data to consult, including side-effects reported by parents, doctors and hospitals. 

    We will update this decision aid as important new research becomes available. 

  • Who reviewed this decision aid?

    Dr Frank Beard
    MBChB, BA, MPH, MHA, Grad Dip App Epi, FAFPHM

    Frank is a public health physician who is Associate Director, Surveillance, Coverage, Evaluation and Social Science at the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS). He has a conjoint academic appointment as Senior Lecturer in the University of Sydney School of Public Health. He worked as a GP in Sydney for 15 years before undertaking his specialty training. His main interests are in the epidemiology of vaccine preventable disease, vaccine coverage analysis and immunisation program evaluation.

    Dr Ketaki Sharma

    Ketaki is a paediatrician and staff specialist at NCIRS and a clinical lecturer in Child and Adolescent Health at the University of Sydney. Ketaki provides scientific technical support to the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) and is also part of the New South Wales Immunisation Specialist Service (NSWISS).

  • Do the authors have any conflicts of interest to declare?

    The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare. The authors do not stand to gain or lose by choices made by any person who uses this decision aid. 

  • Who funded this decision aid?

    Who funded this decision aid?

    The Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney, and the National Centre of Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) funded this research. 

    Jane Frawley was supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Early Career Fellowship (GNT1124075).

    Translations of this decision aid were funded by a COVID-19 Research Grant from the Australian Partnership for Preparedness Research on Infectious Disease Emergencies (APPRISE).

  • When was this decision aid last updated?

    We will update this decision aid regularly.

  • Acknowledgement

    We acknowledge the contribution made by Dipti Zachariah and Lisa Woodland for their assistance with translating this decision aid, including securing funding.

+ References

  1. International Patient Decision Aid Standards (IPDAS) Collaboration. Criteria for Judging the Quality of Patient Decision Aids. 2005. (Accessed 22 August 2020). 
  2. O'Connor AM, Légaré F, Stacey D. Risk communication in practice: the contribution of decision aids. BMJ (Clinical Research ed.). 2003;327(7417):736–740.