Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19 and Adolescents

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Kids aren’t getting severely ill from COVID-19, so why should I or my child get vaccinated?

Even if you don’t get severely ill, you can still spread the virus to someone who might – like a grandparent, someone at church, a teacher at school, or anyone in your community.  

We’re also learning more about the long-term effects of COVID. Even if you don’t get severely ill right now, or even have serious symptoms, you could still have long-term damage that causes health problems down the road.

Some people even develop long COVID, where they have symptoms that last for weeks or months.

Getting and staying up to date with your COVID vaccine can reduce the risk that you’ll:

  • Get seriously ill, need hospital care, or die from COVID.
  • Develop long COVID.
  • Spread the disease to others, putting their health and lives at risk.

How many vaccine doses do adolescents need?

The number of doses adolescents need to stay up to date with their vaccines and get the best protection against COVID depends on which vaccine they get.

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Vaccines and Doses Infographic 5 years+

For males ages 12–39: You may benefit from waiting longer between the 1st and 2nd doses of your primary vaccination series. Talk to your health care or vaccine provider.

For vaccinated people: Updated vaccines are available to help protect against Omicron.

Get your updated COVID vaccine now if your last dose was before September 2022 (October 2022 for kids 6 months – 11 years).

Otherwise, wait until 2 months after you complete your primary vaccination series to get your updated vaccine dose. Completing your primary vaccination series means you got your first 2 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Novavax vaccine, or your 1 dose of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.

Children 6 months – 4 years who got all 3 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech primary vaccination series don’t need an updated vaccine at this time.

If you recently had COVID, you should wait 3 months from when you got sick to get your updated vaccine.

If you’re 5 or older, you can get either Pfizer-BioNTech’s or Moderna’s updated COVID vaccine; it doesn’t matter which COVID vaccine you got previously—Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Novavax, Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen.

Children 6 months – 4 years who got Moderna’s primary vaccination series can only get Moderna’s updated vaccine.

For people with compromised immune systems: Because you’re less able to fight infections, you may need more than these recommended doses. Talk to your health care provider.

How do we know the vaccines are safe for kids and teens?

The COVID vaccines available to kids and teens have been through rigorous testing and thorough review by the FDA and CDC. Thousands of children and teens ages 6 months through 17 years were in the clinical trials, and the vaccines were shown to be safe among those who received them. Also, continued safety monitoring of the millions of children who’ve already been vaccinated confirms that the vaccines are safe.

Will I or my child get myocarditis or pericarditis from receiving an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine?

In most cases, patients who sought medical care for myocarditis or pericarditis (heart inflammation) have responded well to medications and rest and had prompt improvement of symptoms. Reported cases have occurred predominantly in male adolescents and young adults age 16 and older. Onset was typically within several days after mRNA COVID-19 vaccination, and cases have occurred more often after the second dose than the first dose. CDC and its partners are investigating these reports of myocarditis and pericarditis following mRNA COVID-19 vaccination.

CDC continues to recommend COVID vaccination for everyone 6 months or older, given the risk of COVID and related, possibly severe complications, such as long-term health problems, hospitalization, and even death.

Go to cdc.gov/coronavirus for more information on the clinical considerations on myocarditis and pericarditis after receipt of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines among adolescents and young adults.

Will the COVID-19 vaccines have any long-term impacts on pregnant women?

Growing evidence confirms that the FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective for people who are pregnant.

CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible for all people who are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, wanting to become pregnant someday, or breastfeeding.

COVID-19 can be a dangerous disease during pregnancy and is known to present higher risks for severe illness if you are pregnant. COVID-19 during pregnancy also increases the risk of preterm birth and might increase risks for other adverse pregnancy outcomes. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can protect you against severe illness from COVID-19 and help keep your baby safe.

Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine while I’m on my period (or when my child is on their period)?

According to CDC and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, there’s no reason to put off getting vaccinated if someone is on their period.  CDC and the FDA have been closely monitoring safety data and haven’t seen any patterns of concern.

Do parents need to give consent before a vaccine is given to an eligible minor?

The federal government doesn’t have specific requirements for medical consent for vaccination. States/jurisdictions have medical consent laws under which a medical provider must seek consent prior to a medical procedure and the processes for obtaining that consent. These laws vary across jurisdictions.