When should you vaccinate or boost your child against COVID-19 before school?

In a few weeks, students in western Washington will be heading back to the classroom.

It comes as we deal with the most contagious COVID-19 variant we’ve seen to date, leaving many parents wondering when is the best time to vaccinate or boost their children against the virus.

KIRO 7 spoke with medical professionals from Swedish, UW Medicine, and Kaiser Permanente Washington to share some advice for parents.

Across the board, all three told KIRO 7 that the two vaccines that are available to kids are both safe and effective, and if you want your kid to have the most protection when school starts, then you need to pay attention to each vaccine’s timeline.

Keep in mind, it takes about two weeks after the final dose before your child is considered fully vaccinated.

For Pfizer — if your child is under the age of five — you’re looking at a three-dose series and at least 13 weeks before they’re fully protected.

If they are over five, they don’t need the third dose, so they can be fully covered in as soon as five weeks.

For Moderna, it’s the same across the board — a two-dose series, and at least six weeks before they are completely vaccinated. So if your kid starts school in September, you’ll want to start that vaccine series as soon as possible.

“I think that what we really learned over the past two years is that vaccine is protecting normalcy, it protects your ability to have friends and see them, it protects your ability to stay in school and get an education,” said Dr. Beth Ebel, pediatrician and professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

It’s also important to note that the vaccines are relatively new to kids. So, right now at least, it’s not really known how long that protection will last.