May 19, 2021

Public health officials cleared the way for children and adolescents ages 12 and over to receive COVID-19 vaccines.


Businesses should consider making it easier for employees to vaccinate their children as soon as possible.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommend that everyone ages 12 and older get vaccinated for COVID-19.

Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded its emergency use authorization for the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to children and adolescents 12 years of age and older. As a result, 17 million more Americans are now eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines, and more than 600,000 12-15 year-olds were vaccinated last week alone.

Widespread vaccination is a critical tool to help stop the pandemic and safely reopen schools, summer camps and businesses. It’s also widely supported: 6 in 10 (61%) parents plan to vaccinate all of their children and a large majority of parents would feel safer sending kids to school if most other children were vaccinated, according to new polling released this week. Vaccinating children will also help keep schools open, reduce employee absenteeism and mitigate challenges associated with juggling virtual learning and remote working for parents.

Public health experts say it is important to vaccinate children to protect kids themselves, build immunity in the wider population and protect others who aren’t yet eligible for vaccines, including younger children. While many children don’t get as sick from COVID-19 as adults, they can transmit the virus and must still quarantine if exposed.

Actions to support workers with children

Employers should consider making it easier for employees to vaccinate their children as soon as possible. Here are recommended strategies that can help:

Share trusted facts about vaccine safety and how to find COVID-19 vaccines for children.

CDC provides comprehensive information about vaccine safety for children and adolescents ages 12 and older. The American Academy of Pediatrics has also answered many of the most common vaccination questions asked by parents.

Find a COVID-19 vaccine. Parents can search, text their ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find vaccinations. In addition, parents can:

  • Check their local pharmacy’s website to see if vaccination walk-ins or appointments are available for children ages 12 and older.
  • Check with their child’s healthcare provider about whether they offer COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Contact their state or local health department for more information.

Offer paid time off for employees to get their children vaccinated and recover from side effects.

Parents shouldn't have to choose between a paycheck and the health of their children. Allowing employees to take time to accompany their children to vaccine appointments and stay home with children recovering from side effects will help reduce barriers to vaccination and make employees feel supported. A new federal Paid Leave Tax Credit makes it easier than ever to support employees who need time off for vaccinations, including for their children.

Break down other barriers by offering transportation, child care, and support for scheduling appointments.

Many vaccine providers limit appointments to one child at a time (who must be accompanied by an adult). Families with more than one child may need support with child care. Employees who don’t live near vaccine sites may also need help with transportation. Finally, employers can offer assistance scheduling appointments for workers who don’t have reliable internet access or who may have language barriers.

Plan an on-site COVID-19 vaccine clinic for employees and their family members.

Hosting on-site vaccine clinics for families is a great way to improve access, boost morale and help protect your employees, their families and the community from COVID-19. And, your employees will appreciate your efforts to keep them and their families safe. CDC offers guidelines and best practices to determine if an on-site clinic is right for your business.

Offer innovative ways to encourage vaccinations to your customers and those in the wider community.

Consider incentives, discounts or special rewards for customers who are vaccinated. Consult our Quick Start Guide for the latest insights and tactics to encourage employees (and now their children) to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Tomorrow is Mental Health Action Day

In the wake of COVID-19, millions of people have experienced new mental health conditions. Mental Health Action Day (May 20) is a nationwide opportunity to turn awareness into action, helping employers, workers and everyday Americans take steps to educate themselves and improve mental health outcomes for everyone.

Each year, mental health conditions cost employers more than $100 billion and 217 million lost workdays. The stress of the pandemic and the personal losses and health effects many employees have experienced exacerbate this crisis. Below, we've created new resources to help you foster productive conversations around workforce mental health and wellness needs in your workplace.