Children and youth

Read more about the COVID 19-vaccine for children and young people, about testing and when they should stay at home and when they can go to kindergarten / school.

School playground

Children and the coronavirus

Children and youth are less affected by the coronavirus than grown-ups. 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 throath, coughing, a headache and lethargy, and some experience body aches and a fever.

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)

The Government presents relevant information for parents (in Norwegian).

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 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. At present, they will be offered one dose 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?

The majority of the adult population has now taken the vaccine. Infection by the coronavirus can therefor increasingly be handled in the same way as other respiratory tract infections.

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 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 x 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.

Testing of children

Testing of barn is not required on a regular basis but can be considered in consultation with the parents. A low threshold for testing is still recommended with newly arisen symptoms after having been in contact with someone with a confirmed coronavirus infection.

Takin a rapid antigen-based 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.

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 rapid antigen-based self-test or contact a test centre to have a test for the coronavirus 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)

Measures for infection control in schools and kindergarten

In school and kindergarten the following general advice for infection control will apply during normal daily life with increased preparedness:

  • Children who are ill should not go to school or kindergarten. The most important measure for infection control is for persons who are ill to stay at home. 
  • Good hygiene. Cough etiquette is important to limit droplet transmission, while hand hygiene is important to limit contact transmission. 
  • Cleaning.  Proper cleaning prevents contact transmission.

The measures for infection control in schools and kindergarten will vary based on the local level of infection and is decided locally for the municipality.

Please refer to the website of your local municipality for further information.

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 who are infected and 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.

Contact the municipal doctor if further clarification is needed.

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.