Why should I be vaccinated against COVID-19? Children 5-11 years old.


See illustrated material: COVID-19 and vaccinations. For parents and children.  

Vaccination against COVID-19 for children

Children in Iceland receive all kinds of vaccinations to protect them from diseases. The Chief Epidemiologist decides for Iceland how best to use vaccinations and other ways to protect people against diseases that are transmitted between people. Þórólfur Guðnason is the current Chief Epidemiologist. He has offered adults and adolescents vaccination against COVID-19 in 2021. The Chief Epidemiologist now wants to invite children aged 5–11 years to be vaccinated to reduce the chances of them getting COVID-19.

Below are questions and answers about COVID-19 vaccinations. It can be good to read them and think about them before you decide with your loved ones whether to accept the vaccination.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is an illness caused by a coronavirus. The vast majority of children do not become seriously ill even if they contract COVID-19, but they still need to go into isolation if they get the virus so that they don’t infect anyone else.

What is isolation?

Everyone who contracts COVID-19 must go into isolation so that they don’t infect anyone else. Isolation usually lasts for approximately 10 days. Isolation means that you can’t go outside and you can't be around anyone. Those in isolation can’t even be around others in the family, except in the case of children. Children may not be in isolation alone. An adult needs to be with a child in isolation and help them with everything they need. Sometimes children have to go into isolation in a hotel with an adult in order not to infect others in the home.

What is quarantine?

Those who have spent a lot of time around someone who has COVID-19 might contract COVID-19. Then the person needs to be quarantined for safety until they can be sure that they have not been infected. Quarantine means that it is not allowed to be around anyone, preferably not even others in the family, but children may not be alone in quarantine. Short walks are permitted. Quarantine usually ends after 5 days by taking a COVID test, but some people do not take a test and are then quarantined for 14 days.

What is infection prevention?

Those who have been near someone with COVID-19 for a short time can sometimes undergo infection prevention instead of quarantine. Then the person has to take a COVID-19 test immediately and then again four days after being around the person with COVID-19. They can go to school after the first COVID-19 test in infection prevention, but they need to be careful and preferably not be around a lot of people, and not at all around people who are old or sick.

What is defensive quarantine or protective isolation?

Some families have been particularly wary of COVID-19 and have not been around anyone or very few people, almost as though they had been in isolation or quarantine for months even though no one in the family had contracted COVID-19. This is usually because someone in the family has a serious illness, and it could be very dangerous for that family member to get COVID-19. If the family behaves as though they are in quarantine (or almost) in order to protect themselves against COVID-19, it’s called a defensive quarantine or protective isolation.

What is vaccination?

Vaccination against COVID-19 is done by injecting a vaccine into a person’s arm. The vaccine is a liquid in a small syringe. It shows the body the shape of the virus. The immune system in the body, which makes us get better when we get sick, can then learn to recognise the virus without making us sick. Then the immune system can very quickly start to clear the virus from the body if we get it in us, and there is less risk of contracting COVID-19 even if we meet someone with COVID-19.

To complete the COVID-19 vaccination, two vaccinations are required, with several weeks between them. Maybe you will need to get vaccinated again later to help your immune system better remember the shape of virus that causes COVID-19; this is called a booster vaccination.

Why should I be vaccinated against COVID-19?

After vaccination, there is less risk of you contracting the COVID-19 illness. Most children don’t get very sick from COVID-19, but it can be very difficult to have to quarantine and isolate. The vaccination can help you avoid COVID-19 and isolation. Those who contract COVID-19 even though they have been vaccinated get less sick than those who have not been vaccinated. The viruses are also quicker to clear from the noses of those who have been vaccinated, and therefore, there is less risk of them infecting others with COVID-19.

People who have completed the COVID-19 vaccination sometimes avoid quarantine, even if they have been around someone with COVID-19 for a while. People living with someone with COVID-19 do not avoid quarantine even if they have been vaccinated.

I had COVID-19; do I still have to be vaccinated?

You can contract COVID-19 again. Therefore, it is recommended that you be vaccinated even if you have had COVID-19, but not until three months have passed since COVID-19 isolation started.

When, where and how will the vaccination take place?

The healthcare centre administers the vaccination and announces where and when it takes place. A parent or other adult around you will decide with you whether you will be vaccinated. An adult needs to come with you and sit with you while you get the vaccination and for a while afterwards.

Most people sit down for the vaccination, but you can also ask to lie down, especially if you feel uncomfortable when getting an injection. You can choose which arm is injected.

After the vaccination, you will have to wait for 15 minutes before you can go home.

For the COVID-19 vaccination to work well, you will need to get another injection after 3 weeks or a little later.

Does the vaccination against COVID-19 hurt?

Getting an injection feels a little bit like when someone pinches you. Sometimes the arm is a little bit sore for one or two days afterwards.

What is a side effect?

A side effect is when a drug does something more than just what it is supposed to do, usually something uncomfortable. For example, if you take medicine for a fever, you may get a stomach ache, but the fever will still get better.

Could I experience side effects after the vaccination?

Vaccination against COVID-19 often cause side effects. The most common side effects are unusual tiredness, pain in the arm, fever and headache. Side effects like this after the COVID-19 vaccine improve on their own in a few days, but sometimes it helps to rest or get medicine for fever or pain. You rarely need help from a doctor to cure side effects after vaccination.

If you feel unwell shortly after the vaccination, talk to an adult you trust, such as your parents or the school nurse.

If you want to know more, you can also look at:

Information for 12-15 year old adolescents about the COVID-19 vaccination

Easily readable information about the COVID-19 vaccination (Þroskahjálp – Icelandic Association of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities)

Easily readable information about COVID-19 (Þroskahjálp – Icelandic Association of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities)

Fyrst birt 27.12.2021

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