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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 winter.  The CDC recommends everyone ages 5 and older get a COVID-19 vaccine to help protect against COVID-19. This includes a smaller dose created specifically for children 5-11.  We strongly recommend the COVID-19 vaccine for all children and adolescents in your household.

The CDC has also authorized the use of a single booster dose in children 5 years and older at least five months after completing their primary vaccination series.  Chilcren 5 years old and older may only get a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine booster. The CDC states that everyone 12 years and older should get a booster shot.

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. 


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. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

    • Fever or chills
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headache
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Sore throat
    • Congestion or runny nose
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Diarrhea
  • 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 5-11

  • Is the COVID-19 vaccine available for my children?
    The CDC now recommends everyone ages 5 and older get a COVID-19 vaccine to help protect against COVID-19. This includes a special formula created specifically for children 5-11. Getting the COVID-19 vaccine and continuing to wear a mask remain the best way to protect ourselves and the children in our lives from COVID-19. For additional information please visit the CDC website COVID-19 Vaccines for Children.
  • What is included in the vaccine dose for individuals aged 5-11 year of age?
    Children ages 5 through 11 years receive one-third of the adult dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Smaller needles, designed specifically for children, are used for children ages 5 through 11 years. COVID-19 vaccine dosage does not vary by patient weight but by age on the day of vaccination. The vaccine is a two dose series completed 3 weeks a part. .
  • What should individuals who are 11 at the time of the first dose, but turn 12 before the second dose do?
    The COVID-19 vaccine dosage does not vary by patient weight but by age on the day of vaccination. Children 5-11 receive one-third of the adult dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which is a special formula created specifically for that age group. If a child turns from 11 to 12 years of age in between their first and second dose, they will receive an adult dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for their second shot. The adult dose is approved for anyone ages 12 or older.
  • What are the potential side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine in this age group?
    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.
  • 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.
  • 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) to recommend the use and safety of a COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 5-11.
  • 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.
  • Can parents accompany children for the vaccine?
    Yes – one parent or guardian may accompany a child for the vaccine.
  • Where can I schedule an appointment for my child?
    Carle patients and community members can schedule an appointment for those 5 and older through MyCarle, on or through the COVID-19 hotline at (217) 902-6100.

Vaccines for ages 12+


  • 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 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.