Backpack? Check. Lunchbox? Check. COVID-19 vaccination?
As kids head back into the classroom with the coronavirus still spreading, now is the time for your children to get their COVID-19 vaccinations or booster shots.
Vaccination remains one of the most powerful ways you can protect yourself and your children from serious illness due to COVID-19. We at Kaiser Permanente strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated and boosted.
Eligibility for children and teens
Everyone 6 months of age and older is now eligible for COVID-19 vaccination.
Everyone age 5 and up can get a booster shot, if eligible. (Use the COVID-19 booster tool, created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to learn if and when your child or teen can get a booster.)
However, fewer than 1 out of every 3 children ages 5 to 11 are up to date on recommended vaccinations, according to the CDC.
“The coronavirus continues to circulate in our communities, with new variants that are even more contagious than the original strain of the virus,” said Craig Robbins, MD, physician co-lead for Kaiser Permanente’s national COVID-19 vaccination program. “While it happens less frequently among kids than adults, children can still get very sick from COVID-19 or develop symptoms of long COVID.”
Top reasons to vaccinate your children
Dr. Robbins says there are many good reasons to vaccinate your children, especially if they’re school age.
Vaccination protects kids from getting really sick if they do get COVID-19.
Healthier kids means fewer missed school days.
Healthier kids also means fewer children hospitalized for COVID-19 — and that means your local hospital will be better prepared to manage all kinds of illnesses and injuries.
Where and how to get kids vaccinated
The COVID-19 vaccine is free to all people living in the United States.
Kaiser Permanente offers many easy ways to get vaccinations. For the latest information on the vaccine and appointment availability in your area, visit kp.org/covidvaccine.
“Our goal is for kids to be as protected from COVID-19 as possible. The best way to do that is to get them vaccinated and make sure the other people in their lives are vaccinated, too,” Dr. Robbins said.
The beginning of the school year is also a good time to review all your child’s vaccination needs. Check with your child’s doctor to find out what’s right for them.
More ways to stay healthy
In addition to vaccination, it’s important to continue taking steps to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. We recommend that you:
Wear a mask in public indoor settings in communities where the level of COVID-19 cases is high
Wash your hands frequently
Stay home when you’re sick
Get tested at the first sign of symptoms
Home antigen tests are a quick and easy way to find out if you or your child has COVID-19 so that you can avoid infecting others. Head to kp.org/covidtests to learn about easy, no-cost ways to get self-tests.