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Real family taking a selfie together while they are wearing protective face masks. Scandinavian descent family of four wearing protective mask to protect themselves from viruses during COVID-19 global pandemic.

COVID-19 and Your Kids

Learn how to best protect your family from COVID-19.

As a partner in your health, we care deeply about you and your family. We want everyone to be healthy and safe this summer.  The CDC currently recommends COVID-19 vaccines for everyone 6 months and older. This includes a smaller dose created specifically for infants and children 6 months through age 5.  We strongly recommend the COVID-19 vaccine for all children and adolescents in your household.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccine for patients 6 months through age 5 have been approved by the FDA. Children who are 5 and have already received a Pfizer vaccine are also authorized to receive a single booster dose. Use CDC’s COVID-19 booster tool to learn if and when your child or teen can get boosters to stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines.  

We understand that this may be an uncertain time for many families concerning COVID-19 and vaccines. Many parents/caregivers do have questions on the vaccine. Below you’ll find answers to some of the big questions that may be on your mind. If you have additional questions, we encourage you to visit with your pediatrician or nurse.

Getting the COVID-19 vaccine and continuing to wear a mask remain the best way to protect ourselves and loved ones from COVID-19. For additional information check out the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website. 

FAQs:

General COVID FAQs

  • What is COVID-19?
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes COVID-19 as a disease caused by a virus called SARS-CoV-2. Most people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms, but some people can become severely ill. Although most people with COVID-19 get better within weeks of illness, some people experience post-COVID conditions. Post-COVID conditions are a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems people can experience more than four weeks after first being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Older people and those who have certain underlying medical conditions are more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19. Vaccines against COVID-19 are safe and effective.
  • Is COVID-19 really affecting our communities?
    Yes, it is. And, we are now seeing COVID-19 impact kids more severely, including hospitalizations and death. For the latest numbers on COVID-19 at Carle facilities, visit the COVID Dashboard.
  • What are the symptoms of COVID-19 and are they different in children?

    People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. For additional information on COVID-19 symptoms visit the CDC website.

  • How can I protect myself and my loved ones from COVID-19?
    • Get the COVID-19 vaccine when eligible!
    • Wear a mask when inside and around others.
    • Wash your hands
    • Cover your cough
    • Stay home if you’re sick
    • Don’t touch mouth, nose or eyes

Vaccines for ages 6 months -11 years

  • Is the COVID-19 vaccine available for my children?
    The CDC currently recommends COVID-19 vaccination for everyone ages 6 months and older in the United States. For each of the currently authorized vaccines for infants and children, from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, authorized primary series and boosters have been studied with precise dosage amounts specifically for each authorized age group.

    Pfizer-BioNTech:
    • Children ages 6 months–4 years: Should receive a 3-dose primary series. The first and second doses are separated by 3-8 weeks and the second and third doses are separated by at least 8 weeks.
    • Children ages 5–11 years: Should receive a 2-dose primary series separated by 3-8 weeks and 1 booster dose at least 5 months after completion of the primary series.
    • Moderna:
    • Children ages 6 months–5 years: Should receive a 2-dose primary series separated by 4-8 weeks.
    • Children ages 6 –11 years: Should receive a 2-dose primary series separated by 4-8 weeks.

    For additional information please visit the CDC website COVID-19 Vaccines for Children.
  • What is included in the vaccine dose for individuals aged 6 months to 11 years old?
    COVID-19 vaccine dosage does not vary by patient weight but by age on the day of vaccination. Children get a smaller dose of COVID-19 vaccine than teens and adults. For more information on COVID-19 primary series vaccination for children and teens visit CDC COVID-19 Vaccine Recommendations for Children and Teens.
  • What are the potential side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine for children?
    Vaccines are safe and the most effective way to prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 and to minimize the illness if it is contracted. Reports of side effects for this age group have been minimal. They may include pain and redness at the injection site, or other symptoms such as tiredness, headache and chills. Myocarditis has been linked to mRNA vaccines in adolescents but remains rare.

    For additional information on COVID-19 vaccine side effects visit the CDC website.

  • Can children receive a booster dose?
    The CDC has authorized the use of the vaccine as a single booster dose in individuals 5 years old and older. This single booster dose is available five months after an individual’s primary vaccine series. For some immunocompromised children aged 5–11 years old, CDC now recommends an additional dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to complete the primary series – a total of three doses.

    Use the CDC's COVID-19 booster tool to learn if and when your child or teen can get boosters to stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines.

  • What about the risk of myocarditis or pericarditis?
    Cases of myocarditis and pericarditis in adolescents and young adults have been reported but are rare. For the rare cases of documented myocarditis after COVID-19 vaccine, most recover fully. The potential benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks, including the possible risk of myocarditis or pericarditis. If you have additional questions, we encourage you to visit with your pediatrician or nurse.
  • Will the COVID-19 vaccine affect my child’s ability to have a baby later in life?
    Currently no evidence shows that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems (problems trying to get pregnant) in women or men. The American Academy of Pediatrics supports the recommendation by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that all eligible infants, children and adolescent without contraindications get vaccinated.
  • Can my child get the flu vaccine or other immunization at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine?
    Yes, your child may get a COVID vaccine and other vaccines, including a flu vaccine, at the same visit. Experience with other vaccines has shown that the way our bodies develop protection, known as an immune response, after getting vaccinated and possible side effects of vaccines are generally the same when given alone or with other vaccines.
  • Should children who have already had COVID-19 still get vaccinated?
    Emerging evidence indicates that people can get added protection by getting vaccinated after they have been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. For children who have been infected with COVID-19, their next dose can be delayed 3 months from when symptoms started or, if they did not have symptoms, when they received a positive test. If your child tests positive for COVID-19 after getting their first shot, they should wait until their isolation period has ended before getting their second shot.
  • Where can I schedule an appointment for my child?
    Carle patients and community members can schedule an appointment for those 6 months and older through MyCarle, or through the COVID-19 hotline at (217) 902-6100.

Vaccines for ages 12+

Prevention

  • Should my family continue to wear a mask in public?

    We recommend those ages 2 and older wear a cloth face cover when around others. This is in line with CDC recommendations. The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected even if you do not feel sick.

    Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

    Do NOT use a facemask meant for a healthcare worker.

    Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.

    Visit CDC.gov for the latest guidance.

  • What else can I do to protect my family?
    The pandemic isn’t over. Talk to your children about ways they can be safe in school and in their activities. Encourage them to follow your school’s social distancing requirements, wear a mask while on the bus and at school, practice good hygiene and to tell you right away if they’re not feeling well.
  • Where can I find additional resources to review?
    There is significant misinformation on the internet. We recommend researching the most reputable sources of information, including the CDC, the Illinois Department of Public Health and the American Academy of Pediatrics.