Why should my child or teen get the COVID-19 vaccine when it typically causes mild illness in children and youth and is less effective against Omicron?

Question: 

Why should my child or teen get the COVID-19 vaccine when it typically causes mild illness in children and youth and is less effective against Omicron?

Answer: 
While COVID-19 tends to cause mild illness in most children and youth, some children and youth (including those with underlying medical conditions) can get severely ill from COVID-19. The Omicron variant spreads more easily from person to person, and more children and youth are becoming infected and being hospitalized with COVID-19. Some children and youth who get infected can:
 
  • Develop a serious but rare condition called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). MIS-C is caused by an exaggerated immune response, leading to severe widespread inflammation, and can happen several weeks after infection.
  • Continue to feel sick weeks or months after the initial illness. This is called Post-COVID-19 condition or “long COVID”. Early studies suggest that "long COVID" is less common in children and young people than adults. 
While vaccines are less effective at preventing infection from the Omicron variant (compared to other variants like Delta), current data suggests they provide good protection against serious illness and hospitalization due to Omicron.
 
  • Vaccination reduces the risk of children and youth getting COVID-19 and spreading it to others, including more vulnerable family and community members.
  • Vaccination is very important, even for those who have previously been infected with COVID-19. While infection alone provides some protection, vaccination after infection helps improve the immune response and may provide better and longer-lasting protection against current and future variants of the virus.
 
Date last reviewed: 
Thursday, Feb 17, 2022