Is the COVID-19 vaccine and booster safe for kids?
Clinical trials with thousands of children have shown the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are safe for kids six months and older. Boosters are safe for kids five and older. Kids 11 and younger receive a smaller dose using a smaller needle designed for children.
We're here to make sure your child's experience is as safe as possible. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines for kids and follow these CDC safety tips:
- See what you can do before, during, and after your child's appointment to make the experience easier on them.
- Do not give pain relievers to your child before vaccination to try to prevent side effects.
- Share information about your child’s allergies before they’re vaccinated. Your child should not get a vaccine dose if they had an allergic reaction to a previous dose or have a diagnosed allergy to any ingredient of the vaccine.
- Keep your child seated or lying down for 15 minutes after vaccination to prevent fainting and injuries related to fainting.
- Be prepared to stay for 15-30 minutes after vaccination in case your child has a severe allergic reaction and needs immediate treatment.
If you have any concerns, talk to your doctor to determine what's best for your child.
Do kids really need to get vaccinated?
Yes, kids do benefit from vaccination despite common misconceptions that all children are safe from COVID-19. Even though COVID-19 is usually milder in kids, it can still cause serious illness, hospitalization, and even death. These risks are higher for kids with underlying medical conditions.
If you’d like to schedule a vaccination appointment for your child, please visit our COVID-19 vaccine page.
What are the possible side effects for kids?
Your child may have side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine. While the common side effects can seem like illness, they’re a normal sign your child’s body is building protection. Common side effects are similar to those found in adults, including:
- Pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site
- Muscle pain
Serious side effects, including allergic reaction, are extremely rare. Rare cases of myocarditis and pericarditis (inflammation in the heart) have been reported in adolescents and young adults, usually after getting the second dose. Most patients with these conditions respond well to medicine. Even with these rare side effects, the benefits of getting vaccinated far outweigh the potential risks.
Will my child get a smaller dose than adults?
Your child will receive a smaller dosage than adults if they’re 11 or younger and the same dosage as adults if they’re 12 or older. This can be confusing because many medications are based on weight, but vaccine dosage is based on a child’s age.
Can children with allergies get the vaccine?
It’s important to share information about your child’s allergies before they’re vaccinated, especially if they’ve had allergic reactions to vaccines in the past. Your child should not get a vaccine dose if they had an allergic reaction to a previous dose or have a diagnosed allergy to any ingredient of the vaccine. If you have any concerns, talk to your doctor to determine what's best for your child.
Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines for people with allergies.
Can my child get a flu shot (or others) at the same time?
According to the CDC, it’s safe for your child to get a COVID-19 vaccine, flu vaccine, and other vaccines at the same time.
Does my child need a vaccine if they already had COVID-19?
Yes, getting the vaccine has been proven to provide teens additional, significant protection from getting COVID-19 again. Recovering from COVID-19 is less likely to provide long-term immune protection, especially if your child had very mild symptoms or none at all.
Is it safe to go to the hospital?
Yes. Hospitals are actually among the safest public places during COVID-19. That's because:
- Hospital staff go through rigorous training for infection prevention. There are always measures in place to prevent the spread of diseases like COVID-19, and those measures are expanded significantly during any outbreak.
- We screen every person that comes through our doors, and we quarantine anyone who has COVID-19. So, unlike at other public places, you're automatically separated from the people who have the highest risk of spreading infection.
- Social distancing measures are stricter at hospitals than most other places. We've significantly reduced the number of visitors at our facilities, and many appointments have been moved online or rescheduled. We've also spread out patient appointments so fewer people are in a waiting room at any time.
- There's no shortage of resources or space for your child's care. Our hospitals have more than enough beds, medical personnel and personal protective equipment (PPE) for both COVID-19 patients and anyone else who needs care.
- Hospital cleaning standards are much higher than at most other public spaces. During COVID-19, we're cleaning and disinfecting even more and on a stricter schedule. Everyone, including providers, nurses and support staff, is helping keep the hospital clean and safe.
What do I do if I was exposed to someone who has now tested positive?
Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for pregnant women and unborn babies?
While safety of all medications and vaccines in pregnancy continues to be studied, medical experts from around the U.S. believe the COVID-19 vaccine is safe to receive during pregnancy. This is based on both its known mechanism of action, and the results of pregnancy outcomes in which the patient was vaccinated. Although pregnant persons are nearly always excluded from initial trials of medications or vaccines, over 153,000 have registered with the CDC’s V-safe pregnancy registry. To date, the known outcomes of these pregnancies have not shown any unexpected increased rates of pregnancy complications, including miscarriage, congenital anomalies, fetal growth restrictions, preterm birth, stillbirth or neonatal death.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that all eligible persons, including pregnant and lactating individuals, receive a COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine series. The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) recommends that pregnant and lactating people be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Will the COVID-19 vaccine have a negative impact on my future fertility?
Claims linking COVID-19 vaccines to infertility are unfounded and have no scientific evidence supporting them. It is not necessary to delay pregnancy after vaccination.
Should mothers receive the vaccine while lactating?
The COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for mothers during lactation. Although breastfeeding patients were not included in the initial large vaccine trials, available vaccines are unlikely to pose a risk to the breastfeeding child. These vaccines do not contain infectious virus and any vaccine that crosses into breast milk and is then ingested by the infant is likely to be inactivated by the infant's digestive system.
Are there benefits to my baby if I receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
The primary benefit to your unborn baby is the protection the vaccine provides you from infection. Small but ongoing studies have also found protective, vaccine-induced maternal antibodies in the umbilical cord blood and in breast milk samples. These may help protect your newborn against COVID-19 infection.
Do I need to be tested before giving birth?
You'll need to be tested either before labor and delivery or when you arrive for delivery. Testing helps us provide the best possible care for you, your child and all the other moms and babies at our hospital.
Most pregnant women recover from COVID-19 with rest at home. If you recover from COVID-19 before delivery, your pregnancy and labor will most likely be unaffected. If you test positive while pregnant, ask your doctor what's best for your unique needs.
Learn more about pregnancy and coronavirus.
Can I have my support person with me during labor?
Yes, two support persons are allowed to stay with you during labor and delivery. For antepartum visitation, you may designate only one support person to visit from 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. Nobody but this designated support person may visit. For postpartum visitation, may have one support person present.
Are individuals who are pregnant at increased risk of COVID-19 or its complications?
The current data suggest that pregnancy does not increase your chance to be infected but may increase the risk for a more severe clinical course, including hospitalization, mechanical ventilation and death. Although more than 90% of pregnant persons recover without hospitalization, rapid clinical deterioration can occur.
Risk factors for more severe disease are similar to non-pregnant patients, including older age (especially older than 35), maternal obesity, and preexisting medical conditions (especially high blood pressure and diabetes). Additionally, the risk of pre-term delivery and cesarean delivery appears to be increased in pregnant patients with COVID-19, possibly due to the need to deliver early as part of the management of severe disease.
Can pregnant moms transmit COVID-19 to their babies?
So far, there is no evidence of the disease being passed through the cord blood or amniotic fluid of infected moms to their babies. Dr. Courtney Martin says that, during a vaginal delivery, the virus can be detected in maternal blood and feces. In many cases, babies can be exposed to these at the time of birth. “Because of this,” Dr. Martin says, “our OB-GYNs at Children’s Hospital are taking extra precautions to ensure the baby is safe from this exposure.”
What extra precautions should pregnant women take?
Pregnant women should be as careful as possible to avoid COVID-19 and follow all guidelines the CDC has in place for the general public. Mainly, avoid unnecessary travel, public gatherings and contact with others who have any type of illness. It’s also critical to continue your prenatal care — including appointments with your OB-GYNs.
Learn more about pregnancy and coronavirus.
Is it safe to breastfeed?
Physicians still recommend breastfeeding your baby. However, you should take precautions if you have COVID-19, are experiencing symptoms or were exposed. Wash your hands thoroughly before breastfeeding your baby and wear a mask while you feed them.
Read more about keeping your baby safe during COVID-19.
How dangerous is COVID-19 for an infant?
Usually babies who test positive for COVID-19 have no symptoms or only mild symptoms. Babies who were born prematurely or have underlying conditions may be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
How do I get my child tested for COVID-19?
If you feel your child needs to be tested, please contact your primary care provider. They will screen your child for symptoms, determine if a test is needed and give you further instruction.
What should I do if my child has symptoms?
Call your pediatrician or family doctor if your child is experiencing symptoms and may have been exposed to COVID-19. Your doctor will help you take any necessary precautions before coming in for care.
Do kids have the same symptoms as adults?
Yes. Children usually have mild cold-like symptoms, including fever, runny nose, cough or difficulty breathing. At this time, there isn’t evidence to suggest COVID-19 symptoms are much different for kids.
How can I prevent my child from getting sick?
The most effective ways to prevent infection are handwashing and limiting contact with others. View our coronavirus fact sheet (PDF) for more prevention tips.
Are children more at risk of infection or serious illness?
No. Most cases of COVID-19 currently involve adults, and severe illness is uncommon for both healthy adults and children. If your child has other health conditions, he or she may be more at risk.
How can I learn more about COVID-19 (coronavirus)?
Here are some helpful resources for you and your family.
- Important Reminders for Prevention (PDF)
- Coronavirus Fact Sheet (PDF)
- CDC Coronavirus Info
- CDC: Pregnant Women And Children
- CDC resources on coping with stress and anxiety
- American Academy of Pediatrics Resources
- Artforkidshub.com - offering free art, origami, painting, etc. lessons for kids
- Audible.com is offering free stories for kids of all ages
- Riverside County School Food Program
- San Bernardino School District meal services
- LLU Students And Faculty