COVID-19 vaccine and kids: What you need to know

February 11, 2022 Carlie Franz

Young boy showing recent vaccination and looking happy


Key takeaways:

  • Research shows that children can become severely ill with COVID-19, unlike initial speculation.
  • Children ages 0—17 make up nearly a quarter of all COVID-19 cases in the U.S., highlighting the urgent need for vaccination.
  • COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, including for children ages 5 – 11.

Recently, the FDA and the CDC recommended and authorized use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5–11. It’s already available for those 12–17 and adults 18+, and now an additional 28 million young people in the U.S. can receive the vaccine.

Many parents of younger children have been eagerly awaiting this milestone, as the COVID-19 vaccine can help protect children from contracting or spreading the virus and get them back to doing the things that make kids, kids.

However, the decision to vaccinate your child is a personal one and understandably a lot of parents have questions. We want to help dispel common myths and provide you with the facts. Here are some things to know about COVID-19, the vaccine and kids.

First thing’s first: COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective

The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and highly effective in helping to prevent COVID-19 in children and adults. To date, 11.5 million children ages 12–17 have already received the vaccine, and it’s recommended all kids ages 5 and up get vaccinated as soon as possible. Side effects are generally mild and outweigh the risks associated with COVID-19.

Children can get COVID-19 and become severely ill

Early on in the pandemic, it was thought that children might not be as affected by COVID-19 compared to adults. However, scientists and health care providers have since learned that kids are susceptible to COVID-19, can become severely ill, and develop long-lasting symptoms, be hospitalized or sadly die.

Children can spread the virus to others

Like adults, children can spread COVID-19 to others, including other kids. Even if children have minor (or no) symptoms and don’t become severely ill, they can still spread the virus to others who may get very sick or experience complications from the virus.

Rates of childhood COVID-19 infections have increased

Recent data shows that children 0–17 make up nearly a quarter of all COVID-19 cases in the U.S. And as the more contagious Delta variant spread over the summer, infection rates in kids spiked five times between late June and July. Tragically, COVID-19 has become one of the top 10 leading causes of death in children.

Kids want to be kids

The pandemic has been hard on our children. Children have been living with fear and anxiety and have had to sacrifice many things that make kids, kids. Once your child is fully vaccinated, they can start getting back to doing the things they love. Check your local public health department for guidance.

Trina Jellison, Providence’s group vice president of Women and Children’s Services, seconds that, saying, “I am so grateful for all of the careful science that went into the development of the vaccine so that our kids can have a safe, effective vaccine that allows them to get back together and be kids again.”

Precautions for children under 5

We’re not quite there yet, but vaccine research is ongoing for children six months of age to four years old. We should know more in the coming months. Check back here in the future for updates. In the meantime, here is what you can do to protect unvaccinated family members.

Who can answer my COVID-19 vaccine questions?

Your pediatrician or other trusted health provider can help to answer questions about COVID-19, the vaccines and vaccinating your child. And they can also help you find where vaccines are available in your area. You can also learn more here.

Bottom line: The COVID-19 vaccine has many benefits

Getting children vaccinated for COVID-19 has many benefits. For one, it is the best way to protect them and those around them. It also gives parents and families more peace of mind as the pandemic continues and helps to limit disruptions to things like education and kids’ activities. Stay up to date on the CDC's recommendations for masking and how to keep yourself as protected as possible from current variants. 


Find a doctor

If you have questions about vaccinations or want to secure one for your child, make an appointment with your primary care physician. If you need a doctor, you can find a Providence provider in your area by searching in our online provider directory

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Related resources:

On the fence about vaccinating your child against COVID-19? Here are a few reasons to consider it

COVID vaccine now authorized for use in 12–15-year-olds  

Deciding whether to get the COVID vaccine? 5 facts you should know

5 COVID-19 vaccine myths and the facts

What to know about the Delta variant 

About the Author

Carlie Franz

Carlie Franz is a member of the Providence National Communication team and is based in Kodiak, Alaska. She has been in the marketing & communications industry for more than 20 years. She has a bachelor of science degree in Journalism and a masters degree in strategic communication.

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