About COVID-19

Children can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and can get sick with COVID-19. Most children with COVID-19 have mild symptoms or they may have no symptoms at all (“asymptomatic”). Fewer children have been sick with COVID-19 compared to adults. Babies younger than 1 and children with certain underlying medical conditions may be more likely to have serious illness from COVID-19. Some children have developed a rare but serious disease that is linked to COVID-19 called multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C).

For more information about how people get sick with the virus that causes COVID-19, see How COVID-19 Spreads.

If you are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine and your child isn’t, you can help protect him or her by being vaccinated.

People with COVID-19 have reported a wide range of symptoms – from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. If you have fever, cough, or other symptoms, you might have COVID-19.

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

This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as we learn more about COVID-19. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.

VACCINE FAQs, Facts, and Myths

Studies show that COVID-19 vaccines are effective at keeping you from getting COVID-19. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine will also help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19. Learn more about the benefits of getting vaccinated.

COVID-19 vaccines teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. It typically takes 2 weeks after vaccination for the body to build protection (immunity) against the virus that causes COVID-19. That means it is possible a person could still get COVID-19 before or just after vaccination and then get sick because the vaccine did not have enough time to build protection. People are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, or 2 weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.

The CDC has released new data on the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant and breastfeeding individuals. It has been found that pregnant and recently pregnant people are more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 compared with non-pregnant people. Receiving a COVID vaccine is the best way to prevent severe illness from COVID. There is currently no evidence that receiving the COVID vaccine causes fertility problems in women or men. We recommend you contact your obstetrician to discuss your individual risk factors.

In addition, you should get the seasonal flu vaccine.

None of the approved COVID vaccines contain the live virus that causes COVID-19.

Yes, the CDC recommends getting vaccinated, even if you’ve already been sick with COVID-19. Early research suggests that even if you’ve had COVID-19, natural immunity may not be very long lasting. Additionally, it is not known how long after being infected with COVID-19 you may be able to get it again, and reinfection has occurred in the community. Receiving the vaccine will better protect you from contracting the virus again.

Here is some information on special situations that may impact the timing of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine:

  • If you’ve had a known COVID-19 exposure: wait for quarantine period to end before vaccinating
  • If you are currently sick with COVID-19: Wait for illness to resolve and for the isolation period to end
  • If you received monoclonal antibody: Wait 90 days from infusion to vaccinate in order to prevent inactivating the COVID-19 vaccine

No. Although the CDC initially recommended a 14 day waiting period between all vaccines and the COVID vaccine, it has since been proven to be safe when given at any time before or after any other vaccine, including the seasonal flu vaccine.

Please wear a mask indoors in public settings, even if you are fully vaccinated, to maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others. Remember that outdoor gatherings are always safer than indoor social events. 

COVID-19 vaccines have not been linked to infertility or miscarriage. A disinformation campaign has been circulating online, claiming that antibodies to the spike protein of COVID-19 produced from these vaccines will bind to placental proteins and prevent pregnancy.

This information is not scientifically plausible. During a COVID-19 infection, the immune system creates the same antibodies to the spike protein that COVID-19 vaccines would. COVID-19 infection has not been linked to infertility. Therefore, there is no scientific reason to believe fertility will change after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

Science has shown that while pregnant women are at a higher risk of hospitalization due to COVID-19 infection, there is no evidence of an increase in miscarriages. During a COVID-19 infection, the immune system creates the same antibodies to the spike protein that COVID-19 vaccines would. Therefore, if COVID-19 affected fertility, we would already be seeing an increase in miscarriage rates in women infected with COVID-19. This has not happened.

Yes. COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for everyone 12 years of age or older, including people who are trying to get pregnant now or might become pregnant in the future, as well as their partners.

Currently no evidence shows that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems (problems trying to get pregnant) in women or men. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and people who would like to have a baby.

COVID vaccines have been proven safe and effective at preventing COVID-19 illness in children 12+. There have been reports of mild cases of inflammation of the heart muscle and surrounding tissue called myocarditis and pericarditis following COVID-19 vaccination in children. The number of individuals affected by this rare side effect is very small, most cases are mild, and children often recover on their own without treatment. Additionally, health risks to the heart from COVID-19 illness can be much more severe. For more information, please read this statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

You may experience short-term mild or moderate vaccine reactions that go away without complication or injury. The most common side effect is pain or swelling on the arm where you received the shot. Other reported side effects include headache, chills, fatigue, muscle pain, or fever lasting day or two. Remember that these side effects are an indication that your immune system is responding to the vaccine and are common when receiving any vaccine. These temporary side effects are much less dangerous than a COVID-19 infection.

The approved COVID vaccines are continuously being monitored for safety. The history of vaccine use has shown that long-term side effects happen very rarely, if ever. If side effects are going to happen, they usually do within eight weeks of receiving a vaccine. This is why there are safeguards in place and manufacturers must wait at least eight weeks after clinical trials have ended before applying for Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA.

V-safe is a tool developed by the CDC to help track any symptoms or adverse reactions to the COVID vaccines.

The first vaccines for COVID-19 were developed in record time. However, Operation Warp Speed did not “rush” in a way that would compromise safety. The approved vaccines have gone through the same research and approval process required for any new vaccine. They were reviewed by both the Federal FDA and a safety review group, as well as independent panels in several other countries. Each of these groups agreed on the approved use of the vaccines.

The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines both use mRNA technology. While this is the first time it’s being widely used in a vaccine for the public, this type of vaccine has been researched for more than three decades.

The evidence to-date is clear that the long-term risks of COVID infection are much higher than any possible long-term effects of the vaccine.  Because the many COVID variants have spread to all parts of the world, it is just a matter of time before everyone will be exposed.  We know that while it was important to protect kids at home during the early part of the pandemic, the risks of ongoing isolation no longer outweigh the serious unintended consequences of mental health struggles, developmental delay, and for many kids, academic difficulties.

Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson have reported that their vaccines do not contain preservatives. Additionally, none of the approved vaccines contain the live COVID-19 virus, animal by-products, egg products, or latex. The vaccines do contain basic elements that help them work better in the body including fat, salts, and sugars. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines contain the active ingredient, messenger RNA (mRNA). mRNA is fragile and can break down easily. Storing mRNA vaccines in an ultracold environment keeps them stable and safe. You should not worry about the temperatures, as vaccines are thawed before injection.

No. COVID-19 vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way. Both mRNA and viral vector COVID-19 vaccines deliver instructions (genetic material) to our cells to start building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. However, the material never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept.

Learn more about mRNA and​ viral vector COVID-19 vaccines.

None of the approved COVID-19 vaccines contain fetal cells nor were fetal cells used the development or production of either vaccine.

COVID-19 vaccines do not contain microchips. Vaccines are developed to fight against disease and are not administered to track your movement. Vaccines work by stimulating your immune system to produce antibodies, exactly like it would if you were exposed to the disease. After getting vaccinated, you develop immunity to that disease, without having to get the disease first.

No. Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine will not make you magnetic, including at the site of vaccination which is usually your arm. COVID-19 vaccines do not contain ingredients that can produce an electromagnetic field at the site of your injection. All COVID-19 vaccines are free from metals.

Learn more about the ingredients in the COVID-19 vaccinations authorized for use in the United States.