Ask Miss Rona: Kids COVID-19 Vaccine

Ask Miss Rona is a Q&A series started on Public Health’s Instagram to respond to community questions related to different topic areas of COVID-19. Questions come in from the public and are answered by subject matter experts at Public Health. Check out our Instagram at @kcpubhealth for more of our Miss Rona content.

Is there any research showing long-term effects?

Your child may experience some mild or moderate short-term side effects (similar to adults), but there has been no indication that there are any long-term effects from the COVID-19 vaccine, including impacts on fertility. 

Vaccine monitoring has historically shown that side effects generally happen within six weeks of receiving a vaccine dose. For this reason, the FDA required each of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines to be studied for at least two months (eight weeks) after the final dose. Millions of people have received COVID-19 vaccines, and no long-term side effects have been detected.

If you have questions specific to your child, reach out to your medical provider.

If the vaccine works for other people, why do kids need it? They are not at risk.

Most cases of COVID-19 in children are not severe, but on occasion, COVID-19 can cause serious infections that require hospitalization. In rare instances, it can be life-threatening. 

Children can also spread it to others if they get infected. That’s particularly a worry when they are around people in the higher risk groups, including other family members like grandparents, or caregivers who may have medical conditions. Children can also have long-term effects from the virus, known as long-COVID. 

The more viruses spread, the more chance they have to mutate into more dangerous strains. As a community, the more people that are vaccinated, the safer we will all be and the less chance that new variants of the virus will emerge.

With kids 5-11 now being able to get vaccine, do they need to show proof of vaccination as a part of the vaccine verification policy?

No. The Local Health Order for verification of vaccination continues to only apply to people ages 12 and older in King County. For more on vaccine verification, visit

Why do kids need a vaccine with 90% effectiveness for a virus they have a 99% of surviving?

New COVID-19 variants are more dangerous and infectious to children than the original strains. The percentage of children hospitalized with COVID-19 has increased 240% in the U.S. in the last few months.

While COVID-19 may often be milder in children than adults, children can still get very sick and spread it to friends and family, some who are immune-compromised or vulnerable in other ways. Vaccination is the best way to keep kids healthy and safe.

Children who are infected with COVID-19 can develop “Long COVID-19” or persistent symptoms that often include brain fog, fatigue, headaches, dizziness and shortness of breath. 

Children who get infected with COVID-19 are at greater risk for Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C). MIS-C is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs.

When will kids under 5 be able to vaccinate?

At this time, COVID-19 vaccines are not authorized for children younger than 5 years old. Clinical trials are in process for younger children. Unvaccinated children ages 2 years and older should continue to wear a mask in public spaces and around people they don’t live with. 

Here’s information for protecting unvaccinated family members, until they are eligible or able to receive the vaccine.

Originally published on November 1, 2021