Can COVID-19 vaccines lead to heart inflammation in children and teens?

There have been a small number of reported cases of heart inflammation following a COVID-19 vaccine. Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle. Pericarditis is inflammation of the outer lining of the heart. Incidents have mostly been reported among mostly male adolescents and young adults who have received an mRNA vaccine. Among the hundreds of millions of vaccine doses given, these reports are rare.

Symptoms of these rare cases included chest pain, shortness of breath, or feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering, or pounding heart. Most patients with myocarditis who received care responded well to treatment and rest and quickly felt better.

CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) continue to recommend that everyone 12 years of age and older be vaccinated against COVID-19. If you have questions or concerns, talk to a healthcare professional.

How do COVID-19 vaccines work for kids?

The COVID-19 vaccine works similarly to other vaccines your child or teen may have had. Germs such as SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, invade and multiply inside the body. The vaccine stops this by teaching the immune system to recognize and make antibodies to fight the virus. After vaccination, your child or teen has less of a chance of getting COVID-19. If they do get infected with the virus, they may not be as sick as they would without the vaccine.

Why should my child get vaccinated against COVID-19?

COVID-19 vaccination can help protect your child from getting COVID-19. Although fewer children have been sick with COVID-19 compared to adults, children can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, can get sick from COVID-19, and can spread the virus that causes COVID-19 to others. Getting your child vaccinated helps to protect your child and your family. Vaccination is now recommended for everyone 12 years and older. Currently, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine is the only one available to children 12 years and older.

COVID-19 vaccines have been used under the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history, including studies in children 12 years and older. Your child cannot get COVID-19 from any COVID-19 vaccine. Like adults, children may have some side effects after COVID-19 vaccination. These side effects may affect their ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days.

If I have an underlying condition, can I get a COVID-19 vaccine?

People with underlying medical conditions can receive a COVID-19 vaccine as long as they have not had an immediate or severe allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine or to any of the ingredients in the vaccine. Learn more about vaccination considerations for people with underlying medical conditions. Vaccination is an important consideration for adults of any age with certain underlying medical conditions because they are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

Do I need to wear a mask and avoid close contact with others if I am fully vaccinated?

After you are fully vaccinated for COVID-19, take these steps to protect yourself and others:

    • In general, you do not need to wear a mask in outdoor settings.
    • If you are in an area with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings and when you are in close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.
    • If you have a condition or taking medications that weaken your immune system, you may not be fully protected even if you are fully vaccinated. You should continue to take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people, including wearing a well-fitted mask, until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider.
    • If you are fully vaccinated, to maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.

How can I get a new COVID-19 vaccination card?

If you need a new vaccination card, contact the vaccination provider site where you received your vaccine. Your provider should give you a new card with up-to-date information about the vaccinations you have received.

If the location where you received your COVID-19 vaccine is no longer operating, contact your state or local health department’s immunization information system (IIS) for assistance.

CDC does not maintain vaccination records or determine how vaccination records are used, and CDC does not provide the CDC-labeled, white COVID-19 vaccination record card to people. These cards are distributed to vaccination providers by state and local health departments. Please contact your state or local health department if you have additional questions about vaccination cards or vaccination records.

Can I get vaccinated against COVID-19 while I’m currently sick with COVID-19?

No. People with COVID-19 who have symptoms should wait to be vaccinated until they have recovered from their illness and have met the criteria for discontinuing isolation; those without symptoms should also wait until they meet the criteria before getting vaccinated. This guidance also applies to people who get COVID-19 before getting their second dose of vaccine.

People who have had a known COVID-19 exposure should not seek vaccination until their quarantine period has ended to avoid potentially exposing healthcare personnel and others during the vaccination visit. This recommendation also applies to people with a known COVID-19 exposure who have received their first dose of an mRNA vaccine but not their second.

If I already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19 because:

        • Research has not yet shown how long you are protected from getting COVID-19 again after you recover from COVID-19.
        • Vaccination helps protect you even if you’ve already had COVID-19.

Evidence is emerging that people get better protection by being fully vaccinated compared with having had COVID-19. One study showed that unvaccinated people who already had COVID-19 are more than 2 times as likely than fully vaccinated people to get COVID-19 again.

If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

If you or your child has a history of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in adults or children (MIS-A or MIS-C), consider delaying vaccination until you or your child have recovered from being sick and for 90 days after the date of diagnosis of MIS-A or MIS-C. Learn more about the clinical considerations for people with a history of multisystem MIS-C or MIS-A.

Experts are still learning more about how long vaccines protect against COVID-19. CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.

How long do I need to wait after getting a flu vaccine or another vaccine before getting a COVID-19 vaccine?

You can get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines, including a flu vaccine, at the same visit. You no longer need to wait 14 days between vaccinations. Experience with other vaccines has shown that the way our bodies develop protection, known as an immune response, and possible side effects after getting vaccinated are generally the same when given alone or with other vaccines.