Updated as of August 30, 2021
- The state of our community: On Aug. 19, 2021, our chief medical officer, Jim Fortenberry, joined other metro Atlanta health system professionals in a press conference to share the latest on the COVID-19 pandemic, including current data and the impact on our pediatric community.
- Delta variant: The Delta variant is currently the predominant strain of the COVID-19 virus in the U.S. It is more than two times as contagious as previous variants.
- COVID-19 testing: Due to the current surge of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses in our community, pediatric primary care offices, urgent care centers and emergency departments are experiencing extremely high patient volumes. Given the high demand for these services, we recommend individuals do not seek COVID-19 tests at these facilities unless they are also seeking medical care. If an individual only needs a test, we recommend visiting a local COVID-19 testing site.
- School guidance: At Children’s, we believe kids learn best when they are in the classroom. The best way to keep kids healthy and in the classroom is to follow recommendations from the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics, which include indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.
- FDA approval: On Aug. 23, 2021, the FDA granted full approval for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
Q&A with Drs. Andi Shane and Evan Anderson
Ask the Infectious Disease Experts
Emory and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta pediatric infectious diseases experts Andi Shane, MD, and Evan Anderson, MD, provide the latest information about COVID-19 vaccines for children, hosted by public health expert Dr. Jodie Guest.
COVID-19 is a new coronavirus that first began affecting people in 2019 and has quickly spread worldwide.
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that commonly infect animals but can infect humans, too. They usually attack the upper respiratory tract—nose, sinuses and throat. The coronaviruses get their name from the crown-like spikes on their surface, visible under a microscope (“corona” means crown in Latin). Some types of coronaviruses cause mild, cold-like symptoms, while infections from coronaviruses like SARS or MERS can be more severe.
Scientists continue to learn more about this novel virus called SARS-CoV-2, a coronavirus that causes a disease known as COVID-19. It is called “novel” because it’s never been seen before.
What does COVID-19 mean for kids and teens?
Most children with COVID-19 have mild symptoms or have no symptoms at all. However, some children can get severely ill from COVID-19, especially babies under 1 year old and children with underlying conditions.
What Parents Should Know About COVID-19
COVID-19 is a new illness, and we’re already developing better strategies and guidance for avoiding infection. Here’s what to know.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Reported symptoms of COVID-19 have ranged from very mild to severe and even fatal. COVID-19 in most healthy children is mild and does not require hospital care.
Symptoms of COVID-19 can include:
- Fever that is not responsive to fever-reducing medications
- Congestion or runny nose
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- New loss of taste or smell
- Refusal of liquids with decreased urine frequency
- Crying without the ability to be consoled
- Sore throat
- Nausea or vomiting
- Muscle or body aches
- Behavior that is not normal for your child
Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to someone with COVID-19. In children, the most common symptoms are fever and cough.
When should my child see a doctor for COVID-19 symptoms?
Most children with COVID-19 have mild symptoms and can safely recover at home without seeking medical care. If your child has concerning symptoms, call your doctor or pediatrician to discuss next steps before going to a hospital, emergency department or urgent care.
Note: If your child has a fever or cough, we highly recommend that your child stay home until the fever and other symptoms are gone for 24 hours. Staying home while sick protects your friends, loved ones and members of your community, some of whom may be at higher risk for illness.
If your child is having difficulty breathing, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.
This content is general information and is not specific medical advice. In case of an urgent concern or emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department right away.
Does your child need a COVID-19 test?
If your child has no or mild symptoms, or just needs a test, go to a community testing site.Testing Sites
What do I do if my child is exposed to COVID-19?
If your child is exposed to someone who has COVID-19, he should follow the CDC’s quarantine and isolation guidelines. In addition, monitor your child closely for symptoms of COVID-19.
When should my child get tested for COVID-19?
The following should be considered before taking your child to get tested for COVID-19:
- Does your child have symptoms of COVID-19?
- Has your child had close contact (within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes) with someone who has confirmed COVID-19?
- Has your child’s pediatrician or school recommended that your child be tested?
Because COVID-19 is a new disease, we are still learning about it. As we continue to gather more information, some medical recommendations may change. But the basics remain: Get vaccinated, wear a mask, wash your hands and maintain a safe distance.
It’s important that we all work together to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and its academic partners were selected by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to help fast-track COVID-19 diagnostic testing at the onset of the pandemic. Today, our researchers continue their work in COVID-19 diagnostic test verification. Additionally, physicians from Children’s and Emory are currently participating in a clinical trial testing the Modern COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 6 months to less than 12 years.
As one of the nation’s leading pediatric research institutions, Children’s is well positioned to lead the way in this vitally important research. Every day, many of our clinicians and researchers are pushing forward with research that will lead to better understanding of and new treatments for this virus.
Children’s and Emory Launch Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Trial
The trial will test the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 6 months to less than 12 years.