If it’s true that COVID doesn’t affect kids as much, why is a vaccine necessary?

Though most children with COVID-19 have mild or no symptoms, some children can get severely ill and require hospitalization, and there is no way to tell in advance if your child will get a severe or mild case. Also, this age group can also transmit the infection to more vulnerable family and community members, such as those who are unable to get the vaccine.

There have also been rare, tragic cases of children dying from COVID19 and its effects, including multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C. Visit Michigan.gov/MISCChildren to learn more about this post-COVID syndrome.

While children and teens may not be as likely to get severely ill from COVID-19, it can still happen and, in fact, the average age of hospitalizations has been decreasing, particularly since the oldest members of our communities have been vaccinated. With this in mind, parents should consider the following:

Michigan data:

  • In Michigan, more than 196,000 confirmed cases from ages 0 to 19 have been reported, and 22 deaths have been reported in ages 10 to 19 as of Oct. 28, 2021.
  • More than 450 children under the age of 12 become infected with COVID-19 each day.

National data:

  • Children 5-11 account for approximately 9% of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. overall, and account for approximately 40% of pediatric cases. In April 2021, 12- to 17-year-olds account for approximately 9% of COVID-19 cases in the U.S.
  • More than 1.9 million cases have been reported among children ages 5-11, with approximately 8,300 children hospitalized to date, according to the CDC. About one-third of these hospitalized children required treatment in the ICU.
    • The rate of hospitalization is three times higher among children of color than among white children.
  • In the first 13 months of the pandemic, more than 1.5 million 12- to 17-year-olds were knowingly infected. This number is an under-representation given that many people may not have symptoms or be sick enough to get tested or seek medical care.
  • Hospitalization rates among youth have also been increasing. More than 13,000 12- to 17-year-olds were hospitalized with COVID-19 by early May 2021, and, in fact, more teens have been hospitalized with COVID-19 than were hospitalized with H1N1 during the 2009-2010 influenza pandemic.
    • Conditions such as obesity, asthma, and developmental delay, as well as other pre-existing conditions, increase the chance for hospitalization.
  • As of late September 2021, more than 500 children and teens up to 17 years of age have died from COVID-19.
  • As of the end of August 2021, almost 5,000 cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) have been diagnosed and 41 deaths occurred. About half of these occurred in 5- to 13-year-olds. MIS-C typically occurs 2 to 6 weeks after having COVID-19, can occur following a mild infection, tends to be more severe in adolescents and teens, and causes about 6 or 7 of every 10 individuals to be placed in intensive care. MIS-C can also affect heart function.

Getting adolescents vaccinated means their safer return to social activities and can provide parents and caregivers peace of mind knowing their family is protected. Further, vaccinating children is key to raising the level of immunity in the population and limiting the spread of COVID in our communities.

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: Questions and Answers about COVID-19 Vaccines


You’ve got questions. That’s a good thing.

As parents, determining how best to protect our children can be overwhelming and confusing. We’re here to help.

Related Questions

Immunity is the body’s way of protecting against and preventing disease. Children are born with an immune system composed of cells, glands, organs, and fluids located throughout the body…
To provide the best protection, some vaccines require an additional dose or doses as we get older…


Don’t see the answer to your question?

Please contact us and let us know. We can answer your questions and add new questions and answers to our list.

About I Vaccinate

I Vaccinate provides information and tools based on real medical science and research to help Michigan parents protect their kids. Support is provided by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Franny Strong Foundation.

You’ve got questions. That’s a good thing.

As parents, determining how best to protect our children can be overwhelming and confusing. We’re here to help.

©2021 Franny Strong Foundation | All rights reserved

Add Your Heading Text Here