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CANCEL
COVID-2019 Alert

The latest information about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, including vaccine clinics for 12-17 year-olds.

La información más reciente sobre el nuevo Coronavirus de 2019, incluidas las clínicas de vacunación para jóvenes de 12 a 17 años.

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Information About the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The California Governor lifted most COVID-19-related community restrictions for people who are vaccinated. However, at this time, masks, distancing, and screening for COVID-19 will continue to be required at all of our health care facilities, even for people who have been fully vaccinated.


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As a health system with vulnerable patients, we're continuing these requirements in alignment with recommendations from public health authorities. Our top priority is the safety of our patients, visitors, employees, and community. We will continue to provide updates about patient care and post the latest information on our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Stanford Children’s Health is now offering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines to children 12-17 years of age.
Due to our commitment to prioritizing children, and in accordance with the Santa Clara County Health Department, our supply of vaccine has been designated exclusively for this population. You can make an appointment or get more information at covidvaccine.stanfordchildrens.org

Stanford Children’s Health is here for you and continues to care for patients safely. Below is an FAQ to help keep you informed about COVID-19, developments at Stanford Children’s Health, and steps you can take to protect yourself.

Frequently Asked Questions

About COVID-19

Q: What is a novel coronavirus?

A: COVID-19 is a disease caused by a virus called SARS-CoV-2. Most people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms, but some people can become severely ill. Although most people with COVID-19 get better within weeks of illness, some people experience post-COVID conditions. 

Post-COVID conditions are a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems people can experience more than four weeks after first being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Older people and those who have certain underlying medical conditions are more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19. Vaccines against COVID-19 are safe and effective.

How it spreads

Q: How does the virus spread?

A: COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person to person, including between people who are physically near each other (within about 6 feet). People who are infected but do not show symptoms can also spread the virus to others. Cases of reinfection with COVID-19  have been reported but are rare. We are still learning about how the virus spreads and the severity of illness it causes.

For more information visit the How COVID-19 Spreads page to learn how COVID-19 spreads and how to protect yourself. 

Q: How long does someone with COVID-19 need to isolate himself or herself?

A: Isolation is used to separate people infected with COVID-19 from those who are not infected. People who are in isolation should stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others. At home, anyone sick or infected should separate from others, stay in a specific “sick room” or area, and use a separate bathroom (if available).

Click here to find more information on current CDC guidance for when it is OK to release someone from isolation.

How to protect yourself

Q: How can I help protect myself?

A: Visit the COVID-19 Prevention and Treatment page to learn about how to protect yourself from respiratory illnesses, like COVID-19.

CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneezes
  • If you are sick, wear a mask over your nose and mouth.
    • Children 2 and older should always wear masks in a public setting or when they are around people who do not live with them.
    • Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

Q: What should I do if I had close contact with someone who has COVID-19?

A: The best way to protect yourself and others is to quarantine by staying home for 14 days if you think you’ve been exposed to someone who has COVID-19. Check your local health department’s website for information about options in your area to possibly shorten this quarantine period.

Symptoms and testing

Q: What are the symptoms and complications that COVID-19 can cause?

A: People with COVID-19 have reported a wide range of symptoms – from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. If you have fever, cough, or other symptoms, you might have COVID-19.

Q: Should I be tested for COVID-19?

A: CDC recommends that anyone with any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 get tested, regardless of vaccination status or prior infection.  If you get tested because you have symptoms or were potentially exposed to the virus, you should stay away from others pending test results and follow the advice of your health care provider or a public health professional.

Q: Can a person test negative and later test positive for COVID-19?

A: Yes, it is possible. You may test negative if the sample was collected early in your infection and test positive later during this illness. You could also be exposed to COVID-19 after the test and get infected then. Even if you test negative, you still should take steps to protect yourself and others. See Testing for Current Infection for more information.

Expectant mothers

Q: Are pregnant women more susceptible to infection, or at increased risk with COVID-19?

A: Based on what we know at this time, pregnant people and recently pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 and death, compared to non-pregnant people. Additionally, pregnant people with COVID-19 might be at increased risk for other adverse outcomes, such as preterm birth (delivering the baby earlier than 37 weeks).

Actions to take if you are pregnant

  • Keep all of your healthcare appointments during and after pregnancy
  • Get recommended vaccines during pregnancy. These vaccines can help protect you and your baby.
  • Call your healthcare professional if you have any concerns about your pregnancy, if you get sick, or if you think that you may have COVID-19.
  • Do not delay getting emergency care because of worries about getting COVID-19.
  • You may feel increased stress during this pandemic. Fear and anxiety can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions. Learn about stress and coping.

Learn more about how to reduce your risk of getting COVID-19 and additional resources and tools to help pregnant and recently pregnant people, breastfeeding people and new parents caring for infants protect their health. 

Q: If a laboring mother has a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, how can she prevent from passing it to her newborn baby?

A: If you are in isolation for COVID-19 and are sharing a room with your newborn, take the following steps to reduce the risk of spreading the virus to your newborn:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before holding or caring for your newborn. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Wear a mask when within 6 feet of your newborn.
  • Keep your newborn more than 6 feet away from you as much as possible.
  • Discuss with your healthcare provider ways to protect your newborn, such as using a physical barrier (for example, placing the newborn in an incubator) while in the hospital.

Q: What are some guidelines on breastfeeding for mothers?

A: Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for most infants. However, much is unknown about COVID-19. Whether and how to start or continue breastfeeding should be determined by the mother in coordination with her family and healthcare providers.

A mother with confirmed COVID-19 or who is a symptomatic PUI should take all possible precautions to avoid spreading the virus to her infant, including washing her hands before touching the infant and wearing a face mask, if possible, while feeding at the breast.

If expressing breast milk with a manual or electric breast pump, the mother should wash her hands before touching any pump or bottle parts and follow recommendations for proper pump cleaning after each use. If possible, consider having someone who is well feed the expressed breast milk to the infant.

If you are breastfeeding, you can receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Q: Should I get the COVID-19 vaccination?

A: CDC and the independent Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) have provided information to assist pregnant people with their decision to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. At this time, ACIP recommends that certain groups (e.g., healthcare personnel, followed by other frontline essential workers) are offered vaccination during the first months of the COVID-19 vaccination program. People who are pregnant and part of a group recommended to receive the COVID-19 vaccine may choose to be vaccinated. If they have questions about getting vaccinated, a discussion with a healthcare provider might help them make an informed decision.

Q: I am worried about going to my prenatal or postpartum appointments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A: Do not skip your prenatal care appointments or postpartum appointments due to COVID-19. Talk to your healthcare provider and ask what safety measures are they doing to keep patients safe.

Some healthcare providers might choose to switch certain appointments to telemedicine visits, which are appointments over the phone or video. Call your healthcare provider if you have an urgent medical question.

COVID-19 and children

Q: What is the risk of my child becoming sick with COVID-19?

A. Children can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and can get sick with COVID-19. Most children with COVID-19 have mild symptoms or they may have no symptoms at all (“asymptomatic”). Fewer children have been sick with COVID-19 compared to adults. However, children with certain underlying medical conditions and infants (less than 1 year old) might be at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Some children have developed a rare but serious disease that is linked to COVID-19 called multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C).

For more information for parents or caregivers of children, see Children and Teens and the COVID-19 Parental Resources Kit.

Q: What about children who have preexisting conditions and/or additional health risks?

A. At present, Stanford Children’s Health care teams are advising pediatric patients with existing medical conditions to follow the same guidelines that are in place for all children, including social distancing and thorough handwashing.

Children with underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness compared to children without underlying medical conditions. Current evidence on which underlying medical conditions in children are associated with increased risk is limited. Children with the following conditions might be at increased risk for severe illness: obesity, medical complexity, severe genetic disorders, severe neurologic disorders, inherited metabolic disorders, sickle cell disease, congenital (since birth) heart disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, asthma and other chronic lung disease, and immunosuppression due to malignancy or immune-weakening medications. For more information, see Children and Teens and Others who Need Extra Precautions.

Q: What is pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome, and how is it linked to the coronavirus?

A: Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is a serious condition associated with COVID-19 where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs.

Infectious disease experts at Stanford Children’s Health want to reassure families that this complication is very rare and are closely monitoring reports about the disease as scientists around the world work to understand MIS-C.

The syndrome resembles other inflammatory diseases and has certain characteristics in common with Kawasaki disease, which is rare and typically affects children age 5 and younger, though it can occur in older kids.

Q: Should children wear masks?

A: In general, children 2 years and older should wear a mask. However, CDC recognizes that wearing masks may not be possible in every situation or for some people. Appropriate and consistent use of masks may be challenging for some children, such as children with certain disabilities, including cognitive, intellectual, developmental, sensory and behavioral disorders. Learn more about what you should do if your child or you cannot wear masks in certain situations and special considerations for children who may have difficulties with techniques for improved fit and filtration.

Q: How to talk to with children about Coronavirus Disease 2019

A: CDC has created recommendations to help adults have conversations with children about COVID-19 and ways they can avoid getting and spreading the disease.

Children and teens may worry about themselves, their family, and friends getting ill with COVID-19. Parents, family members, school staff, and other trusted adults can play an important role in helping children make sense of what they hear in a way that is honest, accurate, and minimizes anxiety or fear. For more information go to the COVID-19 Parental Resources Kit to help children and young people’s social, emotional, and mental well-being.

Q: Who is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine?

A: Children 12 years and older are now eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19. 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.

At Stanford Children’s Health you can make an appointment or get more information at covidvaccine.stanfordchildrens.org.

COVID-19 and Stanford

Q: Can my child get the vaccine?

A: Stanford Children’s Health is now offering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to children 12-17 years of age. An appointment is needed, and appointments for those age 12-17 are now available on the Stanford Children’s Health website at covidvaccine.stanfordchildrens.org.

Q: Is the COVID vaccine dosage safe for kids as young as 12-year old?

A: The CDC recommends everyone 12 years and older should get a COVID-19 vaccination to help protect against COVID-19. Studies show that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. 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.

It is important to discuss any specific concerns about whether the vaccine is safe and effective for “someone like me” (underweight, overweight, immune compromised, etc.) with the child’s physician.

Q: What steps are being taken at the hospital and Stanford Children’s Health clinics to protect patients from becoming infected with COVID-19?

A: With standard protocols in place at all times and working closely with our local and national government health agencies to update protocols as necessary, Stanford Children’s Health is well-prepared to continue caring for patients. These precautionary measures include:

  • Symptom screening of patients and caregivers are conducted at the main entrances to our clinics. Of note, pulmonology patients with a cough will still be allowed into clinic if they do not have other COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever.
  • The existing visitor restrictions policy remains in place to limit the number of people in the hospital and clinics and to protect our patients and staff.
  • When possible, alternate clinic entrances are utilized, and patients will be taken directly to exam rooms once they have checked in.

Q: Is it safe to go to the hospital or doctor’s office?

A: Stanford Children’s Health has well-established measures in place to prevent transmission of all communicable diseases, including flu and other respiratory illnesses. There are respiratory etiquette stations for persons visiting with cough, and hand sanitizer is available. Our staff is trained to screen patients for cough, fever, and recent travel when they arrive.

If you are ill, please call ahead to your health care provider’s office prior to arriving.

Our hospitals and clinical locations have taken additional measures to ensure safety for all patients, visitors and staff during the COVID-19 outbreak. If you have specific questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to ask your health care provider prior to your visit.

Q: What is telehealth virtual visits?

A: Telehealth virtual visits allow patients and/or their guardians to interact and consult with their health care provider, who can review the patient’s medical information for the purposes of diagnosis and treatment, go over test results, fulfill prescriptions, and provide patient education.

Virtual visits are being used both for virtual COVID-19 evaluations and to support non–COVID-19–related health care remotely to minimize patient and family exposure and support social distancing.

To get started with telehealth, talk with your provider’s office to see if you are a good candidate for virtual care.

To learn more about this service, read the latest story.


This page was adapted from CDC.gov, last accessed June 25, 2021

The Great Race: a COVID-19 Story

The Great Race: A COVID-19 StoryPlay

Wear a mask. Together we are stronger. Scientists are encouraging everyone to wear masks to control the spread of COVID-19.

Watch now >

Limiting Visitors to the Hospital

Making sure everyone is healthy is important for you and your child, and all of our patients. One way we are doing this is by limiting the number of people in the hospital. As a reminder, anyone with a cough, runny nose, fever, or sore throat should not come to the hospital.

Current visitor guidelines

    For the health and safety of our patients, families, and staff, Visitors are not allowed in the hospital and clinics at this time. Specific caregivers (parent/guardian) for patients are allowed based on our guidelines.

    Ways for patients to stay in touch with friends and family:

    1. Make a phone call or video chat the child/family 
    2. Text, send an e-mail or greeting card.
    3. Send balloons (mylar type only) or other gifts by ordering from the gift shop (650) 497-8596 during shop hours
    Visit our COVID-19 Patient Education >
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