COVID-19 & Children

As the rates of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations among children and teenagers reach record levels, Ochsner LSU Health is here to provide reliable facts about vaccinating and protecting children.

COVID-19 vaccines are available now to anyone 12 years old or older.

Only the Pfizer vaccine is available to ages 12-18.

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The vaccines can help prevent your child from spreading COVID-19 to others, which is particularly important for kids who interact with older relatives and other adults at risk for severe illness from COVID-19. They can also help keep your child from getting seriously ill if they do get COVID-19.

The COVID-19 Delta variant is contributing to a surge of cases across the country. At Ochsner and other hospitals throughout Louisiana and Mississippi, the Delta variant is infecting and hospitalizing many more young adults and teenagers than previous strains. The best way to protect the younger population from the Delta variant is to get them vaccinated.

Despite misinformation swirling on the internet, the COVID-19 vaccines have been used under the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history, which includes studies in adolescents. These studies and the data collected on those who have already received the COVID-19 vaccine show there is no evidence that the vaccine poses any serious risk to young people.

None of the vaccines being used in the U.S. contain a live virus, and therefore, they cannot infect anyone with COVID-19. As with vaccinated adults, vaccinated young adults and teenagers may experience mild, temporary side effects, but this is an indication of the immune response to the vaccination, not COVID-19.

There is no evidence that female or male fertility problems are a side effect of any vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines. Getting the COVID-19 vaccine will not affect the fertility of young adults or women who are seeking to become pregnant in the future, including through in vitro fertilization methods.

Unlike previous strains of the virus, the Delta variant is having a greater impact on infection rates and hospitalizations among children and younger people. A recent study showed that children and adults under age 50 were 2.5 times more likely to become infected with Delta compared to those older than 50 years. Our hospitals are caring for more children with COVID-19 now than at any other point in the pandemic.

The Delta variant has proven to be more contagious and is spreading rapidly throughout Louisiana and Mississippi. Across the region, more people are hospitalized with COVID-19 now than any of the previous COVID-19 surges. During this time of uncontrolled viral spread, fully vaccinated individuals should protect themselves and others by practicing good hand hygiene, wearing face masks and social distancing in public gatherings. Avoiding large gatherings completely will further reduce your risk.

Post-COVID conditions include, but are not limited to, the following: neurological disorders; multiorgan effects to most, if not all, body systems; autoimmune conditions; fatigue; shortness of breath; chest pain; sleeping difficulties; changes to smell and taste receptors; and problems with memory and concentration. Getting vaccinated not only protects you from contracting the virus, it protects you from the more severe and long-lasting symptoms experienced by unvaccinated individuals.

MIS in children is a serious, potentially deadly, condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. While the cause of MIS has not been fully confirmed, we know that many children with MIS had the virus that causes COVID-19 or had been around someone with COVID-19. MIS is typically seen in school-aged children, but cases have been reported in young adults, which makes it important that all kids ages 12 and up get vaccinated. Children younger than 12 years are not yet eligible to get vaccinated. It’s important that parents and other caregivers of those children get vaccinated to protect them from being exposed to or infected with COVID-19.

Adolescent Mental Health During COVID-19

Hear ideas on how to guide adolescents through ongoing uncertainty, while learning strategies to help with the anxieties and fears that accompany COVID-19 and related stressors.

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