Should Kids Under 16 Get the Vaccine?


Children's Hospital Los Angeles

Now that the vaccine is available to most kids, will you get the vaccine?

Nicole D., Kaavya K., and Dilnoor K.


With Covid still on the move, you may know some people who have chosen to be vaccinated. Yet until now, the age limit was 16. However, scientists have been developing vaccines for kids under 16. The question is, do kids want to get the vaccine? 

“Children under 18 make up 85 million people in [the] U.S. – about 20% of the population,” Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, professor of pediatrics, epidemiology, and population health at Stanford University, told ABC News. “Getting them vaccinated is a major contribution to reducing transmission of [the] virus.”

It is proven that the vaccine builds up immunity, which young children already have. Children have a stronger immune system response to the virus than adults. As a result, some people think that kids don’t need the vaccine. But if children want to keep their strong immune system they should get the vaccine so they have a better chance of not getting the virus as a whole. 

Even though things are settling down in the U.S, it’s far from over. People are still dying every day, including kids. Vaccines don’t make anyone invincible, no matter how strong their immune system is. 

Students may want to get the vaccine because they are aware of what is happening around them, and they want to be safe, not just for themselves, but for the people around them. 

“If the vaccine were available [to me] it would be mandated. I don’t think it would be a choice. If it wasn’t a choice, I would want to get the vaccine. I want to go outside, play sports, hang out with friends, and feel safe,” seventh-grader, Hailey A. said.

On the other hand, children may avoid vaccination because of what they hear through social media, what their parents are saying, and what they feel can happen as a result of the vaccine. There may be long-term side effects that children and parents are afraid of.

“We know that teenagers can get things like long COVID, and that’s something that you would want to avoid,” Dr. Megan Freeman says. “Student-athletes can have long-lasting effects on their heart and have to have monitoring by a cardiologist. So that would be something that we want to avoid.”

No one really knows if the vaccine is the best and safest option, but lots of people are willing to take a chance because they are so tired of being at home, and they want to see their friends and family. Lots of people’s lives have carried on even before the announcement of the vaccine. But they can be even safer. Now that the vaccine is available, people are coming out or expanding their comfort zone in an effort to regain normalcy. 

Simultaneously, there are others who have gotten the vaccine and are still staying in their bubbles, limiting themselves to those who have been vaccinated.

Kids whose parents are very concerned about COVID-19 may choose to have their child get the vaccine so they can see their friends and do normal, everyday things. However, kids are less likely to be carriers of the virus but can still transmit to at-risk citizens. 

“I want the vaccine because it would be nice to go places without worrying about carrying the virus. I visit my grandma even though I’m not supposed to and I am always worried that I will give her the virus, because she is very old and she could die,” Hailey A. said. 

Scientists are breaking the boundaries of vaccines every day, and there are already vaccines available for children aged twelve through sixteen. Once the vaccine is properly distributed and everyone has had an opportunity to be vaccinated, it should slow or even eliminate the spread of COVID-19. For the safety of those around them, kids should be vaccinated as soon as possible.