COVID-19 Home Vaccine Guide Vaccine guide home Why get vaccinated? Are the vaccines safe? Do vaccines protect against the variants? Should I get a vaccine if I‘ve had COVID-19? How do the vaccines compare? History of infectious disease outbreaks and vaccines timeline Vaccination options at Mayo Clinic Patient & Visitor Updates About COVID-19 About COVID-19 home What are the symptoms of COVID-19? What are the treatments for COVID-19? How can you prevent COVID-19? How can you prepare for the flu during COVID-19? U.S. COVID-19 map: Check cases and your local forecast Post-COVID Conditions Appointments Change Language English Español Family perspectives: Vaccinating children against COVID-19 By Mayo Clinic Staff January 8, 2022 Share Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email the page Across the United States, families are weighing their options to protect their children against COVID-19. For eight families, the COVID-19 vaccine was a clear choice. Their motivation is the desire to keep family members safe, protect the community and return to pre-pandemic activities. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has received emergency use authorization for children ages 5 through 15. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, now called Comirnaty, for people age 16 and older. Children ages 12 to 17 should get a Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine booster shot if they've received both doses of the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Learn how these families made the decision to vaccinate themselves and their children and what they want others to know about the COVID-19 vaccine. Meet the families The Acosta Family Pennsylvania Steven and Jocelyn Acosta live in Pennsylvania with their three children, Ceara, 18, Angelina, 14, and Evan, 11. Most members of the family have received the COVID-19 vaccine. Steven and Jocelyn are looking forward to having their youngest child — Evan — vaccinated to protect him and other family members against COVID-19. The Ardon Family Florida Alberto E. Ardon, M.D., M.P.H., is a doctor trained in anesthesia (anesthesiologist), and his wife, Tina Ardon, M.D., is a family doctor. They live in Florida. Both have received the COVID-19 vaccine. They’re eager to have their three young children vaccinated against COVID-19. The Bartz Family Wisconsin Alicia Bartz and her husband, Pete J. Bartz, M.D., who is a doctor trained in treating children with heart and blood vessel conditions (pediatric cardiologist), live in Wisconsin with their three children, Maddie, 17, Sam, 15, and Ella, 13. The whole family is now fully vaccinated against COVID-19. They are enjoying school activities, sports events and visits with the grandparents. The Cowart Family Florida Jennifer B. Cowart, M.D., is an internal medicine doctor who lives in Florida with her family. She and her husband, Justin, are both fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Dr. Cowart and her husband plan to get their children — Ellie, 8, and Henry, 4 — vaccinated against COVID-19. Photo Unavailable The Gauthier-Auguste Family Florida Michelle Gauthier and Robert Auguste live in Florida with their three young children, Naya, 9, Nathaniel, 3, and Noah, 1. They decided to get vaccinated against COVID-19 after a family member was infected with the COVID-19 virus and hospitalized. They explain that they continue to take precautions to keep their family safe since two of their children aren’t yet eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Photo Unavailable The Muuss-Pasca Family New York Terri Muuss and Matt Pasca live in New York with their two children, Rainer, 15, and Atticus, 13. The family is fully vaccinated against COVID-19. They say they chose to get the COVID-19 vaccine to protect their family and do their part to help end the pandemic. The Simon Family Florida Leslie V. Simon, D.O., is an emergency department doctor who lives with her husband and four children in Florida. Having been on the front lines treating people infected with the COVID-19 virus, Leslie was eager for the family to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. The family is now fully vaccinated. The Sood Family New Jersey The Sood family lives in New Jersey. They believe that getting the COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to protect their family and their community. Until their son Siddharth, 11, is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, they’ve decided to continue to take precautions, such as wearing masks and social distancing. Why was it important to get your family vaccinated? 4 family responses Close Alberto The Ardon Family Vaccination works best when as many people as possible can be vaccinated. This includes a family unit. With the children back in school, the risk of exposure increases. Vaccines provide a way to lessen the effects of a potential exposure to COVID-19. Alicia The Bartz Family My husband, Pete, is a pediatric cardiologist. Our family was eager to get the COVID-19 vaccine as quickly as possible. We wanted to reduce the risk that Pete could unintentionally infect vulnerable kids who are born with heart disease. We also chose to get vaccinated so we could visit grandparents and do our part to help keep the community safe. Leslie The Simon Family I want my family to experience the closest thing to a normal life during the pandemic. The safest way to do this is to be vaccinated. I worry a lot less about my children going to school, participating in sports and spending time with their friends, knowing that they are protected by the vaccine. Megha The Sood Family As a family, we are ardent believers in science. We wanted to get vaccinated to protect our family. The COVID-19 virus has wreaked havoc in the country and has claimed the lives of millions of people worldwide. By getting vaccinated, we’re protecting ourselves and our community. If you didn’t plan to get vaccinated at first, what changed your mind about getting yourself and your family vaccinated? 3 family responses Close MG Michelle The Gauthier-Auguste Family I hadn’t planned to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but a family member who was infected with the virus was hospitalized and needed oxygen therapy. This made us rethink our views on vaccination. We decided right then and there that we’d be better off getting vaccinated. TM Terri The Muuss-Pasca Family I’d always planned to get the COVID-19 vaccine. COVID-19 has proved that it’s a serious virus, and we should take it seriously. I want to do my part to end this pandemic. Leslie The Simon Family I got vaccinated the first day the vaccine was offered to me. I brought my family in to get vaccinated as soon as they were eligible for the vaccine. I suppose I have a unique perspective as an emergency doctor who works on the front lines. I’ve seen what this disease does to patients and their families. I’ll do anything I can to spare mine. What information helped you make the decision to vaccinate your kids? 3 family responses Close Tina The Ardon Family As a health care professional, I have the fortune of understanding years of science behind vaccines. This gives me confidence in the current process. If I didn't have this wealth of experience and education, I would reach out to active health care professionals — such as my primary care doctor — for guidance. Alicia The Bartz Family We were influenced by all the doctors, data scientists and infectious disease experts who were excited to vaccinate their own kids. Leslie The Simon Family All four of my children are fully vaccinated. I took them to get vaccinated at the first possible opportunity. After being vaccinated ourselves, my husband and I knew what to expect in terms of side effects from the vaccine. And after spending 18 months treating people infected with COVID-19 in the emergency department, it was an easy, obvious choice. I looked carefully at the data, and I felt confident that vaccinating my children was the right choice. If you have younger children, do you plan to have them vaccinated against COVID-19? 3 family responses Close Alberto The Ardon Family Absolutely. The more protection we can provide to our family unit, the better. While kids have been less affected by earlier variants of the COVID-19 virus, the most recent outbreaks have been of variants that are more likely to affect children. Vaccination provides a layer of protection against these potentially more aggressive variants. Jennifer The Cowart Family I cannot wait to get my children vaccinated. They both wear masks when they’re at school, but the vaccine will lower their risk of getting sick even more. MG Michelle The Gauthier-Auguste Family We want our kids to be vaccinated because the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks. It doesn’t seem like COVID-19 will get under control anytime soon. How is your family taking precautions against COVID-19 until your kids can be vaccinated? 4 family responses Close Jocelyn The Acosta Family Our family always wears masks when we go out. We also make sure to wash our hands often, and we keep a safe distance from those who don’t live in our household. Tina The Ardon Family The most important step we can take for our kids right now is to get vaccinated ourselves. This helps provide a “bubble” of protection for the family. All the adults and one teenager in our family are fully vaccinated for this reason. We’re also mindful of activities we participate in and who we spend time with outside our family unit. We consider vaccination status, the health and risk of those we spend time around, and whether activities are indoors or outdoors. We also wear masks when it’s appropriate. Jennifer The Cowart Family Since one of our kids isn’t yet eligible to be vaccinated, our family never stopped wearing masks. Once the COVID-19 surge started this summer, we limited unmasked indoor activities again, such as social gatherings. Megha The Sood Family We take precautions to stay safe. This includes social distancing and regularly washing hands. We also avoid big gatherings both outdoors and indoors. We wear masks indoors. My son follows the guidelines set by his school, which include daily temperature checks, sanitizing and a sneeze guard around desks. How have your family plans and outings changed since getting fully vaccinated? 3 family responses Close Alicia The Bartz Family When our whole family was fully vaccinated, we went to Grandma’s house for hugs and spaghetti and meatballs. We restarted our memberships at our local gyms instead of working out in our basement. We also started eating in our favorite restaurants again. And we let our high schoolers go cheer on the Milwaukee Bucks during their championship run. MG Michelle The Gauthier-Auguste Family Our plans haven’t changed as of now since our kids aren’t vaccinated yet. We all wear masks even when we’re outdoors. TM Terri The Muuss-Pasca Family We still wear masks indoors, but I feel safer having my kids attend school and go out with their friends now that they’re vaccinated. Because our family was fully vaccinated, we felt safe traveling to national parks this summer. What do you want other families to know about COVID-19 vaccines? 4 family responses Close Jennifer The Cowart Family I want other families to talk with their doctors — their pediatricians and family doctors — about this and other vaccines. Families using the internet to help with decision-making should look for reputable sources. Social media is filled with false information. TM Terri The Muuss-Pasca Family Our boys had very mild side effects from the vaccine, and they’re healthy. I also felt much safer traveling with them this summer after they got vaccinated. Leslie The Simon Family I want families to know that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. They prevent infection in most cases. And when breakthrough infections occur, they are usually very mild. The glaring difference in severity between COVID-19 cases in those who are vaccinated and those who aren’t is startling. Every unvaccinated patient I’ve cared for with severe COVID-19 infection truly believed their risk of severe disease was minimal. It’s heartbreaking to see so much suffering knowing that it could have been easily prevented. Megha The Sood Family We want other families to know that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe, as they have been tested thoroughly during clinical trials. Since the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted even if someone is asymptomatic, it’s important to get vaccinated as soon as possible to protect our families and as a gesture of solidarity to our community. It’s also a gesture of respect and gratitude toward first responders and health care professionals, who risk their lives and the lives of loved ones to care for the community.