Children and youth

Read more about vaccination for children and young people, testing and when they should stay at home and when they can go to kindergarten / school.

School playground

Children and the coronavirus

The coronavirus is in general not dangerous for children and youth. If they are infected, they typically experience only mild symptoms.  20-30 % experience no symptoms at all. Those that experience mild symptoms typically have a sore throat coughing, a headache and lethargy, and some experience body aches and a fever.

For further information, refer to  COVID-19 disease and few long-term effects among children - FHI

It is primarily children (and adults) with symptoms that are contagious, with the highest risk of transmission at onset and one-to-two days prior to the symptoms appearing.

Further information on what is known about COVID-19 in children and adolescents (FHI)

Children and youth in risk groups

Both national and international experience show that children to a lesser extent than adults develop an illness due to the coronavirus, and there is seldom a need for hospitalization. This also applies to children with chronic diseases. There is little evidence to suggest that the risk of developing a serious illness from COVID-19 is higher for these children compared to healthy children.

On a global level there are very few reports of children with COVID-19 who have died, and very rarely for healthy children.

Some children with a serious disease may be more vulnerable. In these cases, kindergarten and school adaptations can be considered. This primarily applies to children with rare and serious underlying medical conditions.

The coronavirus vaccine is offered to children and youth aged 12-15 years with serious underlying conditions. Two doses of the vaccine are recommended for those who are 16 and 17 years old, and for those between 12 and 15 years old with a serious underlying condition. For more information about these groups and COVID-19 in children and youth, visit:

Vaccination of children and adolescents

Vaccination for children 5 to 11 years of age

Children 5–11 years will be offered child doses of the vaccine. 

They can be vaccinated with both 1 and 2 doses if they and their parents wish. Vaccine is particularly relevant for:

    • Children with chronic diseases
    • Families where children have close contact with people with particular need for protection
    • Children who have an increased risk because they will move to or stay in countries with a higher risk of transmission or poorer access to health services than in Norway, or children who for other reasons live in a very vulnerable situation

Read more about vaccination of children and adolescents here (FHI).

Vaccination for children 12 to 15 years of age

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) recommends that vaccination against the coronavirus is offered to 12-15-year-olds. They will be offered two doses of the vaccine.

Parents own the decision on vaccination of their children. Young people aged 12-15 are not of legal age, but should still be heard in decisions related to their own health. Vaccination requires the consent of the person or persons who have parental responsibility. 

The practical administration of the vaccination is handled by the municipality.

Read more about the vaccine for 12-15-year-olds (fhi.no)

Questions and answers about the coronavirus vaccine for children 12 to 15 years of age (FHI) (in norwegian).

Vaccination for adolescents 16 and 17 years of age

Young people who are 16 and 17 years old are also offered the vaccine, with two doses. Those over 16 years of age do not need the consent of their parents to take the coronavirus vaccine.

Read more about the vaccine and the age group 16-17 years (fhi.no)

When should children with respiratory tract symptoms stay at home and when can they return to school/kindergarten?

Transmission of a respiratory tract infection typically occurs in the early phase of the disease. This is why it is important that the child stays at home when the first symptoms of a cold or illness appear. Children with newly arisen symptoms of a respiratory tract infection should stay at home. The child can return to school or kindergarten if only mild symptoms are observed and the symptoms disappear after only one day.

After having had a respiratory tract infection, the child can return to kindergarten/ school when the symptoms improve, their general condition is good, and they have been without a fever for at least 24 hours - irrespective of testing. The child can return even though residual symptoms such as a runny nose or a slight cough still linger.

Some children, in particular children of kindergarten age, seem to have a  runny nose almost continuously. If their general condition is good are otherwise in good form with no other signs of a respiratory tract infection, they do not need to stay at home.

Children with known allergies where the symptoms are recognised as allergy problems may attend kindergarten / school as normal.

If you are concerned about your child, or if symptoms persist, contact your doctor for consultation.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health presents a flow diagram to help parents assess whether a child with symptoms of a respiratory tract infection will need to stay at home or not.

When should young persons with respiratory tract symptoms stay at home and when can they return to school?

Adolescents with COVID-19 develop symptoms that are more like what is seen in adults. A young person with newly arisen symptoms of a respiratory tract infection should stay at home and not go to school. Take a self-test (antigen-based rapid self-test) or contact a test centre to arrange for a test for the coronavirus to be taken. This also applies when the symptoms are only mild.

A young person with known allergies where the symptoms are recognised as allergy problems may attend school as normal.

For further information and advice for youth in secondary school and older with newly arisen symptoms of a respiratory tract infection, refer to: What to do if you suspect that you are infected by the coronavirus? (fhi.no)

Testing of children

A low threshold for testing is still recommended with newly arisen symptoms after having been in contact with someone with a confirmed coronavirus infection. Read more about testing and test regime for close contacts here.

An antigen-based rapid tests at home and testing at a test centre can both be used. With a positive result of a rapid self-test, it is recommended to take a test at the test centre to confirm the test result. You should also go into isolation.

Regular testing is implemented in schools with a high level of infection.

Private gatherings, events, and sports- and leisure activities for children

Private gatherings for children

Children in kindergarten and primary school can have their own cohort/class/group visiting - such as for birthday parties – even if this exceeds the number of guests recommended. They are also exempt from the one-metre distance requirement.

Organised sports- and leisure activities for children and youth

Leisure activities should be carried out outdoors as far as possible. All outdoor activities can be carried out as normal.

For indoor activities, a group size of approximately 20 people or by class / cohort is recommended, this can be done with contact if necessary.

Children and the COVID-19 certificate

Parents or guardians of children under the age of 16 years old can access the COVID-19 certificate of the child by logging on at helsenorge.no. Health information for the child is also available here. Read more about the COVID-19 certificate here.

As a rule of thumb, the parents do not have access to the COVID-19 certificate of a child who has turned 16 years old, unless access has been granted by the child.

16- and 17-year-olds need to obtain an electronic ID, either a BankID, Buypass or Commfides. This will allow them to log in and access their COVID-19 certificate at helsenorge.no. Read more about how adolescents over the age of 16 can log on and access helsenorge.no here (in Norwegian).

Children living in two homes

As a rule of thumb, planned contact arrangements can be carried out. A child has the right to be with both parents, even if they do not live together.

Read more about advice from the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs (Bufdir).

Children  in isolation

Children living in separate homes are part of two separate households can generally change household during their isolation period. The general condition, the child's need for care and whether others in the same household are part of a risk group, must be considered very carefully before moving the child.

A child or young person should receive necessary care also when in isolation,  even if this means you will not be able to keep a physical distance to them. This applies whether the child or you yourself are the one who is in isolation. As a consequence, siblings within the same household may socialize as normal.

Children and young people who are in isolation or quarantine can also go outdoors, if they avoid contact with everyone except their household members.

Read more about children and COVID-19 at the webpages of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH).

Caring for children and youth when others in the household are ill

It is important that the child or young person receive necessary care – even if the parent / caregiver is ill with COVID-19. Similarly, if the child or young person has COVID-19 they will require care and assistance by the parent, caregiver or others – even if the result is that keeping a sufficient distance between the one/those who is ill and the one/those who is healthy is difficult. Solid routines for infection control is important in such situations.  Read more about the advice for preventing infection at helsenorge.no.

If a caregiver is ill and unable to care for the child in their responsibility, the municipal health services must provide support from the child welfare services or other bodies.