Information about the coronavirus and Covid-19 for children
As of 9 February, most rules related to the coronavirus pandemic will disappear.
The pandemic is not over, but so many people in Sweden have been vaccinated, or have become immune after having had Covid-19, that we can now start living more normally again.
But the Swedish Public Health Agency wants everyone to keep these three things in mind, even in the future:
✔️ Everyone over 12 years of age should preferably be vaccinated.
✔️ Stay home and stay away from others if you have Covid-19 symptoms.
✔️ If you are not vaccinated: stay away from crowds and large indoor gatherings.
Another new change is that you should not get tested, even if you have symptoms of Covid-19. Instead, stay at home until you feel well. The only exception is if a doctor or other health care professional thinks you should be tested. If so, they will arrange for you to have a test.
How do I know if I have Covid-19?
If you have been infected with the coronavirus, it can be noticed in different ways. Covid-19 may cause one or more of the following symptoms:
- sore throat
- difficulty breathing (NOTE! in this case, you must call 112, or ask an adult to call for you)
- muscle or joint pain
- runny or stuffy nose
- things taste or smell strange
Symptoms usually appear about 3–5 days after you have been infected. Sometimes it can take up to 14 days.
You may also have had Covid-19 without knowing it, without having any symptoms at all, or without noticing them. It is more common for children to have the disease without noticing than for adults.
Are children infected and sickened by the coronavirus?
Children can be infected by the coronavirus and become sick with Covid-19. But they often just get a slight cold and need to rest. The illness is most dangerous for people over 65, and for those who are particularly vulnerable to getting sick because they have other diseases.
Some children may also feel sick for a long time, long after they have had Covid-19.
Few children become seriously ill. However, some children can suffer from MIS-C, which is a rare and serious form of hyperinflammation.
Can children infect other children and adults?
As a child, you don't infect others as much as adults do. But the older you are, the more infectious you become. 16- and 17-year-olds spread infection at about the same rate as adults.
Can pets get the coronavirus and Covid-19?
Coronavirus is mostly transmitted between people. Cats, dogs and ferrets, for example, have been infected around people who had Covid-19, but this is rare. Pets do not get very sick if they are infected, but they may catch a slight cold.
As far as we know today, humans have not been infected by sick pets. Scientists continue to monitor this, but they believe there is very little, almost no, risk of being infected by your pet.
If I feel sick
Do I have to stay at home if I have symptoms?
Yes, everyone should stay at home if they have symptoms that may indicate a respiratory infection! For example, sore throat, fever, cough and feeling sick. Even if you have a negative test result or are unable to test yourself.
- This applies to everyone over six years of age.
- Even vaccinated individuals.
- Even those who already had a confirmed case of Covid-19.
After staying home, you can return to preschool, school and extracurricular activities when you've been fever-free for at least 24 hours and feel healthy, even if you still have a bit of a cough, a sniffle or other mild respiratory problems. Most people need to stay at home for a few days, maybe a week.
Is it possible to vaccinate against Covid-19?
Yes, there is a vaccine against Covid-19. Scientists have developed several different types of vaccines. All vaccines have been tested on many people and it seems that all vaccines work well and are safe.
In Sweden, vaccination against Covid-19 is voluntary and free of charge. Anyone over the age of 12 can be vaccinated. Each region is responsible for carrying out Covid-19 vaccination.
But the most important thing is still for adults to get vaccinated first, since children don't get as sick from Covid-19 as adults.
Which vaccine is given to children and adolescents?
The Swedish Public Health Agency recommends a vaccine called Comirnaty for children and adolescents. It is a so-called mRNA vaccine. It's a new kind of vaccine that works like this:
- When you get the mRNA vaccine, some of your cells will read the mRNA molecules' instructions and start making the spike protein. Then your immune system will start defending your body against the spike protein by sending out antibodies and T-cells (white blood cells) to attack it.
- If you are later infected by the coronavirus, your immune system will recognise the spike protein that the virus carries and be ready to defend your body against it.
- The mRNA molecules in the vaccine do not remain in the body, they are broken down shortly after vaccination.
- There are also other substances in the vaccine, including a fat droplet that helps the vaccine carry information to the cells.
Researchers are constantly investigating how good and safe different vaccines are for children of different ages. They find that the vaccines appear to be both good and safe for children 12 and over. Research on vaccinated 12–15-year-olds is still ongoing. For young people 16 and over, there is already a lot of research, as many people that age have already been vaccinated around the world.
Several different public authorities, such as the Public Health Agency and the Medical Products Agency in Sweden, and the European Medicines Agency (EMA), are constantly monitoring the side effects that children and adults may experience from all vaccines against Covid-19. If a vaccine appears to be dangerous, the public authorities can stop vaccination until it is safe again.
Can I decide for myself whether to get vaccinated?
The public authorities recommend that you get vaccinated against Covid-19, partly because there is a risk that even young people will become seriously ill or have long-term symptoms following Covid-19.
Since you are a minor, you may need to bring a consent form or complete a maturity assessment to be vaccinated. It works differently depending on which region you live in.
If you are over 15 years old, you can almost always decide for yourself if you want to be vaccinated. However, health care staff may need to carry out a so-called maturity assessment if you cannot get consent from your legal guardian(s).
If you are 15 years old or younger, you will need the consent of your legal guardian(s). If you don't have consent, health care staff can carry out a maturity assessment if you wish. However, it is not certain that you will be vaccinated.
If you want to be vaccinated, but your parents say no
If your region requires your legal guardian's consent and you cannot get it, health care staff can perform a maturity assessment instead. During the maturity assessment, you talk for a while. The staff will ensure that you understand the information provided and that you understand what vaccination means. Some regions only carry out a maturity assessment. In that case, you do not need a legal guardian's consent.
If your parents want you to get vaccinated, but you say no
Vaccination against Covid-19 is voluntary, no one can be forced to get vaccinated. Young people who are not minors also have the right to decide for themselves whether they want to be vaccinated.
Why aren't all children vaccinated?
Anyone age 12 and over can be vaccinated against Covid-19. Vaccinated people become less sick if they get infected. Since children do not get very sick from the coronavirus, they do not need to be vaccinated. Children also do not infect other people as easily. But children who have a disease that means they can get seriously ill from the coronavirus can be vaccinated anyway, if their doctor orders.
How do I make an appointment for vaccination?
When you can get vaccinated, and how, depends on which region you live in. Go to 1177.se to find out what applies where you live. Don't forget to choose the correct region first.
When am I considered vaccinated?
You are considered vaccinated when you have received at least two doses of vaccine, and it has been at least two weeks since the second dose.
If you have not been vaccinated, if you have only had one shot, or if you had your second shot less than 14 days ago, then you are considered unvaccinated.
Covid certificates and travel
What is a Covid certificate? Is it the same as a vaccination certificate? When is a Covid certificate necessary?
The Covid certificate is a paper or digital certificate that you can get if you plan to travel in Europe.
There are three different types of Covid certificates:
- a certificate that you have been vaccinated ("vaccination certificate")
- a certificate stating that you have been tested and are not infected ("test certificate")
- a certificate stating that you have had Covid-19 but have recovered ("certificate of recovery" - you can currently only get this if you are over 16).
How do I order a Covid certificate?
You can order your Covid certificate from covidbevis.se.
If you are under 16, you need to ask your legal guardian to order a Covid certificate for you at covidbevis.se.