Why Children and Teens Should Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19
- COVID-19 can make children and teens of any age very sick and sometimes requires treatment in a hospital.
- Help protect children ages 5 years and older, especially from severe disease, hospitalization, or death by getting them vaccinated against COVID-19.
Help Protect Your Child
COVID-19 vaccination is an important tool to help protect people from COVID-19 and its complications.
Getting eligible children and teens vaccinated against COVID-19 can help keep them:
- From getting really sick if they do get COVID-19
- In school or daycare
- Safely participating in sports, playdates, and other group activities
Help protect children and teens by getting those who are eligible vaccinated against COVID-19.
Impact of COVID-19 in Children and Teens
Just like adults, children and teens can:
- Get very sick from COVID-19
- Have both short- and long-term health problems
- Spread COVID-19 to others, including at home and school
There is no way to tell in advance how children or teens will be affected by COVID-19. However, those with underlying medical conditions or who have a weakened immune system are more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19. Some examples of conditions that can make children more likely to get severe COVID-19 include:
- Asthma or chronic lung disease
- Sickle cell disease
Those without underlying medical conditions can also experience severe illness. In fact, almost half of children younger than 18 years old hospitalized with COVID-19 have no underlying conditions.
Read the data about risk factors for severe COVID-19 in childrenexternal icon published in Pediatrics, childhood COVID-19-related hospitalizations published in MMWR, and weekly summaries of COVID-19 hospitalization data through COVID-NET.
Vaccination Helps Prevent Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) Associated with COVID-19
Children and teens who get COVID-19 can develop serious complications like multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). MIS-C is a condition where different body parts become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, thousands of cases of MIS-C have been reported. Children ages 5 through 11 years are most frequently affected by MIS-C, with almost half of all reported cases occurring in children in this age group. In addition, Hispanic or Latino and non-Hispanic Black children are disproportionately affected by MIS-C.
COVID-19 vaccination reduced the likelihood of MIS-C in children ages 12–18 years by 91%. Data from July to December 2021 show that 95% of children ages 12 through 18 years hospitalized with MIS-C were not vaccinated. CDC is collecting data on how well COVID-19 vaccination works against MIS-C in younger children. As more children under 12 years old get vaccinated, CDC will be able to analyze and share those data.
Children and Teens Can Experience Ongoing Health Problems after COVID-19
After getting COVID-19, children and teens can also experience a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems. These include physical and mental health complications that may occur four or more weeks after initial infection. These complications can appear after mild or severe COVID-19, or after MIS-C.
Symptoms that children and teens may experience after COVID-19 are like those seen in adults and include:
- Muscle and joint pain
- Trouble falling or staying asleep
- Trouble concentrating
Post-COVID symptoms can affect quality of life, including:
- Limitations in physical activity
- Feeling distressed about symptoms
- Mental health challenges
- Decreased school or daycare attendance
- Missed opportunities for participation in sports, playdates, or other activities