Protect Unvaccinated Children
Children between the ages of 2 and 12 should wear a mask in public spaces and around people they don’t live with.
Children can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and can get sick with COVID-19. Most children with COVID-19 have mild symptoms or they may have no symptoms at all (“asymptomatic”). Fewer children have been sick with COVID-19 compared to adults. Babies younger than 1 and children with certain underlying medical conditions may be more likely to have serious illness from COVID-19. Some children have developed a rare but serious disease that is linked to COVID-19 called multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C).
For more information about how people get sick with the virus that causes COVID-19, see How COVID-19 Spreads.
Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is a serious condition associated with COVID-19 where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. For information, see MIS-C. (please see our Parent Resources page - MIS-C in Children for more information)
Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected. Each health department determines community spread differently based on local conditions. For information on community spread in your area, please visit your local health department’s website.
How can I protect my unvaccinated family members?
These are the best ways to protect your unvaccinated family members, including children who cannot get vaccinated yet:
Choose safer activities for your family.
Regardless of which safer activities your family chooses, remember to protect yourself and others.
As more people are getting vaccinated and resuming activities they did before the pandemic, parents and caregivers are making hard decisions on how to protect their families. Not everyone is able to get vaccinated, so you may be confused about how to keep your family safe, especially if your family has vaccinated and unvaccinated members.
Here are some things to consider when planning outings with your family.
Everyone 12 years and older should get a COVID-19 vaccination to help protect against COVID-19.
People with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
Learn how to talk to professional caregivers, extended family members, family friends, teachers, or other people your loved one spends time with about how to keep your loved one safe from COVID-19.
As families begin participating in more of the activities they did before the pandemic, children or other family members may worry about themselves, their family, and friends getting sick with COVID-19. They may feel anxious about returning to school, childcare, or normal activities like grocery shopping or gatherings. Parents, family members, and other trusted adults can help your loved one make sense of what they hear.