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Children with compromised immune systems are at a higher risk for developing severe COVID-19 symptoms. There are several severe childhood illnesses that can compromise a child’s immune system.
Children with cancer who are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 are more at risk for severe illness, according to an August 2021 study.
This risk is particularly high for patients who have had a bone marrow transplant.
Most pediatric cancer patients do relatively well if they get COVID-19. But COVID-19 can be life-threatening.
If your child is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, ask your child's care team about it.
The Global Registry of COVID-19 in Childhood Cancer was launched by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP). Results from the registry were published in The Lancet Oncology.
Key findings included:
A study found that bone marrow transplant patients are at a high risk for severe illness due to COVID-19, even a year or more after a transplant.
Researchers studied 318 bone marrow transplant patients who developed COVID-19. COVID-19 survival was about 68% among bone marrow transplant patients. Survival was 95–99% in the general population.
All children with blood disorders are at an increased risk for severe COVID-19 complications and Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C).
Those at higher risk include:
The vaccine is a safe, effective way to prevent COVID-19.
COVID-19 stands for coronavirus disease 2019. It impacts:
Most people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms. But some people can develop more serious problems like pneumonia.
Symptoms of COVID-19 include:
Most people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms. Some people may not show any symptoms.
In some cases, people with COVID-19 become very ill. Warning signs of severe illness are:
In very rare cases, children may develop a serious inflammatory syndrome associated with COVID-19. It is called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C).
This syndrome occurs in some children who have been infected with COVID-19 before. Children may develop the syndrome even if they did not have noticeable symptoms of COVID-19.
Although the syndrome is very rare, MIS-C can damage:
The condition can be life-threatening. Call your pediatrician immediately if you suspect MIS-C or notice symptoms.
If your child has a weak immune system, it is important to take steps to prevent illness. Call your doctor if your child has been exposed to the virus or has symptoms.
Wear a mask or face covering as your doctor recommends. If your child is immunocompromised, ask your care team about the type of mask needed and instructions for use.
Download and print this coloring book for children. They can read about the coronavirus and COVID-19 and color the pages.Download the Coronavirus Coloring Book
Download and print this coloring book for older children. They can read about the coronavirus and COVID-19, color some pages, and work word puzzles.Download the Coronavirus Activity Book
Reviewed: February 2022