Keeping Kids Safe
Wolfson Children's Hospital has long been recognized for quality and safety. And during COVID-19, we've enhanced our commitment to keep all patients, physicians, team members and visitors safe. As we welcome children for procedures, appointments and surgeries, you can rest assured that we have protocols in place to keep them safe in our care.
COVID-19 Safety Protocols
Select an item below to see more information
Can my child get the vaccine?
Children 5 years and older are eligible for the vaccine.
- The Pfizer vaccine is authorized for age 5 and up.
- The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for age 18 and up.
To obtain the vaccine in Florida, individuals 5-18 years of age must be accompanied by a guardian. To learn more, visit the Florida Health Department website.
FAQs about the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11
Is the vaccine approved?
Yes. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children 5 through 11 years of age. Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend COVID-19 vaccination for children as young as 5.
Why should children ages 5 and older get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Children continue to account for a quarter of COVID-19 infections in the United States. Those who get the virus are able to spread it to other children, including babies and toddlers who are too young to be vaccinated, and adults who may be at higher risk for severe illness. With holiday gatherings on the horizon, it is critical to get children vaccinated now to prevent a new surge of COVID-19.
How do we know it is effective in younger children?
Scientists conducted clinical trials with about 3,000 children and the FDA has determined that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has met their standards for safety and effectiveness for authorization in children 5 and older.
Will younger children get the same dose as adults?
No. Children ages 5 through 11 will receive one-third of the adult dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. It will be administered using smaller needles, designed specifically for children.
How many doses will be needed?
Children who receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will need a second dose three weeks after the first dose.
What are potential side effects of the vaccine?
According to the CDC, immediately after the shot, children may feel mild side effects including:
- Sore arm
- Redness or swelling at the injection site
- Muscle pain
These side effects are normal, and are signs the body is building protection against the virus.
What are potential risks of the vaccine?
According to the CDC, rare cases of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the outer lining of the heart) have been reported in children ages 12-17 in the week following the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine: To date, 54 cases per 1,000,000 doses have been reported, which is .000054% (less than one-hundred thousandth of a percent). Though these cases are exceedingly rare, parents should contact their pediatrician if their child experiences chest pain, shortness of breath or heart palpitations following vaccination.
What are the risks of not being vaccinated?
Though children typically do not get as sick from COVID-19 as adults, severe illness requiring hospitalization and critical care does occur in some cases. Additionally, children who have had COVID-19 may develop a serious, potentially deadly condition called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), which can appear 4-6 weeks after infection, even in those who didn’t have symptoms. Children may also have lingering effects of a previous infection, known as Long COVID-19.
Where can my child get the vaccine?
COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5-11 are currently available by appointment at certain pharmacies, including:
Local school districts may also hold vaccination clinics. Please check with your school district for more information.
Please note, Emergency Centers are not designated vaccination sites.
As new vaccination locations become available, we will continue to update the Baptist Health COVID-19 Help Line at 904.302.5050 and the Baptist Health COVID-19 vaccine information page. To find a vaccination location near you, visit vaccines.gov or text your zip code to 438829.
Due to storage requirements, most pediatricians’ offices are not equipped to offer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. If your pediatrician’s office will be providing COVID-19 vaccines, they will provide that information once they have confirmation of supply.
Will children still need to wear masks at school if they have been vaccinated?
Masking policies vary by school district. Please check with your local school district for the latest guidance.
Where can I learn more?
For the most up-to-date information, please call the Baptist Health COVID-19 Community Nurse Line at 904.302.5050 or visit the Baptist Health COVID-19 vaccine information center.
Visitor Policies for all Wolfson Children's Locations
Updated pediatric/Wolfson visitor policies are listed on our Baptist Health website.
View latest visitor Information
Entry at Wolfson Children's Hospital
Enter through the Pavilion or Emergency Center, bring your ID, and arrive 15 minutes early for screening and visitor check in.
Parking at Wolfson Children's Hospital
-If entering the Pavilion, park in the P2 garage on Palm Avenue.
-If entering the Emergency Center, park in the P3 garage - 1st floor.
Face Coverings Required
We require all patients (ages 2+) and permitted visitors to wear masks or cloth facial coverings and practice safe distancing at all Wolfson and Baptist facilities, regardless of COVID-19 vaccine status. Please bring your ID and allow at least 15 minutes to complete our visitor check-in at our hospital locations.
Is your child a Nemours patient?
Visit the Nemours website coronavirus information page to learn more.
Wolfson Children’s Hospital has long been recognized for quality and safety — and during the COVID-19, we enhanced our commitment to keep all patients, physicians, team members and visitors safe.
Testing and self-isolation is required prior to surgery — even if you have no symptoms or reason to believe that you may be COVID-positive.
Testing information and hours, including holiday hours >
This link will take you to the Baptist Health Covid site. Look for the Pre-Procedure Testing Locations section; then select Wolfson Children's Hospital.
Please talk to your child’s pediatrician about testing. Many local pediatricians offer COVID-19 testing in their offices during business hours, or can refer your child to another testing site in the area.
You can also find testing locations at these links:
Chat with our digital assistant from the safety of your home about your symptoms, travel history and other factors to help you self-assess your risk for coronavirus (COVID-19).
Talk to a Baptist Health nurse about you or your child's symptoms. We’ll walk through what's next and how to get care. This service is free, for all ages, and available everyday, 8am-5pm.
Child Health and Safety Tips
How to do it right to keep yourself and your family healthy.
At home with the kids? Take a few seconds watching this video to make sure your child has a comfortable and properly fit helmet so they can safely enjoy the ride.
- Virtual Car Seat Checks
Since our in-person car seat checks are not possible right now, our certified child passenger safety team at Wolfson Children's can help you virtually.
Sign up for one of our virtual sessions
E-mail us at ChildSafety@bmcjax.com
Call us at 904.202.4302
How to keep your munchies in check and boost your immunity.
- Modeling calmness for your children
- Tips for talking to your child about COVID-19
- Positive parenting
- Combating COVID-19 anxiety
Medicaid/Benefit Enrollment Assistance
With the temporary closures of Department of Children and Families, Jacksonville, FL service centers to the public, THE PLAYERS Center for Child Health at Wolfson Children’s Hospital would like to offer our free services to help families with children get connected to Public Benefits such as Medicaid, SNAP, and TCA.
We are able to help families over the phone to complete and navigate their applications for these benefits until the application is processed by the Florida Department of Children and Families. Please call us at 904.202.5001, if you are interested.
What is coronavirus / COVID-19?
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a new strain of coronavirus, the virus family that causes the common cold. Its symptoms are similar to the flu:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
Can COVID-19 affect children?
Yes, but based on current evidence, children do not appear to be at higher risk for the disease than adults. Current information also suggests that, generally, children are less likely to become severely ill with COVID-19 if they do become infected.
Are the symptoms of COVID-19 in children different from adults?
No. The symptoms of COVID-19 in adults and children are similar. In the limited number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in children, most have had mild, cold-like symptoms such as fever, runny nose, and cough. Vomiting and diarrhea have also been reported.
What is MIS-C, and is my child at risk of developing it?
First, parents should feel reassured that multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is extremely rare, and survival rates are high. MIS-C is a condition that causes a range of symptoms in children who have been exposed to the coronavirus. Symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- Bloodshot eyes
- Fever of 101 degrees or higher
- Generalized skin rash, including on the lips, hands and feet
- Signs of shock, including rapid breathing or heart rate, low blood pressure and change in mental status
- Vomiting or diarrhea
Currently, there are no known risk factors, but most children affected are between the ages of 4 and 15 years old, and have no preexisting conditions. If your child is exhibiting signs of MIS-C, call your pediatrician right away. If your child is severely ill, take him or her to a Wolfson Children’s emergency room immediately.
Read this recent Juice article about MIS-C.
How can I protect my child from COVID-19 infection?
The CDC recommends encouraging children to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by teaching them to do the same things everyone else does to stay healthy such as:
- Get vaccinated
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- If soap and water is not available, alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used.
- Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose or mouth, with your hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick (coughing or sneezing).
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces daily.
- Launder items including washable plush toys as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely. Dirty laundry from an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.
My child has a chronic illness. Is he or she at higher risk?
As with adults, it is possible that children with underlying health conditions and/or who are immunocompromised may be at higher risk.
These conditions include:
- Chronic lung disease
- Heart disease
- Immunodeficiency conditions
- Neurologic conditions such as muscle disorders
- Organ transplant
- Treatment with medications that lower the immune system response
Learn more about who is most at risk on CDC’s current Risk Assessment page.
Which precautions should I take if my child does have a chronic health condition?
Parents and other caregivers should be extra vigilant about monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19, which include fever, cough and shortness of breath. If your child demonstrates these symptoms, call your child’s health care provider for guidance about screening and treatment. As always, if your child is severely ill or is having another medical emergency, call 911 or head to your nearest emergency room. Visit wolfsonchildrens.com/emergency for a list of Wolfson Children’s Emergency Centers.
Other things to remember:
- Continue your child’s current medical treatment plan unless otherwise advised by his or her primary treating physician.
- Make sure your child’s prescriptions are refilled so you have at least a two-week supply of medication on hand.
- If you’re unsure whether your appointment has been affected by COVID-19, please contact your provider.
- Follow CDC recommendations concerning travel.
- Practice social distancing, which means remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.
- Ensure you have sufficient stock of prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, medical supplies, household items and groceries for the whole family.
Learn more about who is most at risk on CDC’s current Risk Assessment page.
If I think my child has COVID-19, should we go to the emergency room?
- If you or your child feels sick, call your primary care physician.
- Do not show up at a doctor’s office or clinic without first contacting them.
Can you get COVID-19 through pools, hot tubs, and water play areas?