COVID-19 - To The Kids Of Aotearoa

COVID-19 - To The Kids Of Aotearoa

Kids of Aotearoa - this is written especially for you. Find out what's happening with COVID-19. It's written by Julie, a researcher, and Jin, a doctor who cares for children. They wrote this together with children.


Julie and Jin wrote this in 2021, during the DELTA outbreak in New Zealand, before the vaccine was available for kids under 12. 

To the kids of Aotearoa

The pandemic has already been 1.5 years, which for kids, is a pretty long part of your life.

You've worked hard at keeping your families and communities safe.

And now, COVID-19 is in New Zealand, and you're still waiting for the vaccines. You might feel worried about that, or bored, or tired, or not that bothered at all. There are many ways to feel.

You can also see this booklet in te Reo Māori - E ngā tamariki o Aotearoa

Click on any of the images below if you want to see the whole PDF booklet.

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Sometimes, adults think that if we don't tell you things we're protecting you. And it's true that sometimes it's easier not to know about hard things! Especially when, as kids, you often have less power to do anything about the hard things.

But sometimes kids prefer to know about the hard things, so they can do their best to deal with them. If that's you, then read on.

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What is happening in the COVID-19 outbreak in Aotearoa?

In this current delta outbreak in Aotearoa, about one third of the people infected have been children and young people under age 20.

So we're hoping to get more young people vaccinated as soon as possible.

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When will this end?

The truth is that we are going to be dealing with COVID-19 for a long time, but some things will get easier soon.

At the moment, we're waiting for more people to be vaccinated so that we can start moving about more freely. From the end of November, some things will start to change.

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What happens when kids get COVID-19?

Around the world, we have seen that when kids do get COVID-19, they usually don't get very sick. It's common for kids to not even know that they are sick because they don't feel any different. For most kids, getting COVID-19 is usually a bit like getting a cold.

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What are the risks for kids who get COVID-19?

We know from Australia that about 1 or 2 out of every 100 kids who get COVID-19 need to visit the hospital, but this is usually a quick stay.

Perhaps 1 in 25 children who get COVID-19 can have symptoms that last longer than one month.

You can read an article in the Guardian newspaper about vaccinating children as young as 5

It is very, very rare for children to die from COVID-19.

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So, it seems like the things that are worst about COVID-19 for most kids aren't how the virus itself might make you feel, but how it affects your life and family.

Some children have said that lockdowns can be hard because families stuck at home can feel stressed and the house can be noisy.

You can look at a report which shares children and young people’s reflections of COVID-19 during the seven-week lockdown in 2020

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Will kids be getting a vaccine?

Kids in the United States aged 5 to 11 have just started being vaccinated. Tests show that it is safe and works really well at protecting kids from getting sick.

You can read an article about kids in the US getting the vaccine

You can read an article about how effective the vaccine is for children aged 5 to 11

The government has already ordered enough vaccines for all the kids aged 5 to 11 in Aotearoa.

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We've heard that many kids want to know about what the vaccine would be like. Vaccines for kids have littler needles and smaller doses than adult vaccines because kids' bodies are smaller. For the kid-size Pfizer vaccine, the bottles have a special orange cap so nurses can tell them apart.

The injection should feel about the same as other vaccines you have gotten before, so it might hurt a tiny bit but then it's over.

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What happens when people don't want to get vaccinated?

Sometimes people are afraid of getting the vaccine or feel worried. Recently, over 6000 doctors in New Zealand signed a letter saying it's best to get the vaccine to prevent COVID-19, because the virus can be so dangerous.

You can check the letter the doctors in New Zealand signed

But if someone in your house is still too worried to get the vaccine, the best thing to do is be kind to them. With kindness people sometimes feel less scared.

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What if I have more questions?

This page has been written by Julie and Jin. Julie is a researcher who talks to children about health and Jin is a doctor who cares for children.

You can find Julie and Jin's full article at

Julie and Jin wrote it in consultation with Lola Huata (age 7), Jessica Brockett (age 7), Alex Williams (age 6), Theo, Violet and Henry Viskovich (ages 6, 8 and 10) and Caden and Lachlan MacDonald (ages 10 and 11).

If you have any more worries or questions you would like Julie and Jin to know about, you can email them

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This page last reviewed 22 November 2021.

Call Healthline on 0800 611 116 any time of the day or night for free health advice when you need it