COVID-19 COVID-19

Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a new strain of coronavirus (now identified and officially named SARS-Cov-2). Some coronaviruses can cause illness like the common cold, while others can cause more serious diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). SARS-CoV-2 causes a mild illness in many people, but in a minority of people it causes a severe respiratory and multi-organ disease.
COVID-19 spreads between people, usually when a sick person coughs or sneezes. You might catch it if someone with the virus sneezes or coughs near you. You could also catch the virus if they have coughed or sneezed onto a surface (like a door handle) that you touch, getting the droplets on your hands and then transferring them to your mouth, nose or eyes when you touch your face or eat. Worldwide, most people infected with COVID-19 have caught the virus from another sick person who lives in their household. This is particularly true for children. In in most cases children have caught the virus from an adult within their household.
Everyone who gets coronavirus (COVID-19) will experience it a little differently. Symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • fever
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • headache
  • fatigue
  • shortness of breath
  • runny nose
  • diarrhoea
  • vomiting or nausea
  • loss of the sense of smell or taste
  • muscle or joint pain
  • loss of appetite.
If your child is unwell with fever, cough, sore throat, or shortness of breath, visit your nearest testing clinic.

If you are unsure if your child has symptoms of COVID-19, or if your child has a sudden onset of any COVID-19 symptoms, you should contact your local GP, hospital Emergency Department, or call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84).

Before attending a GP clinic, it is important to phone ahead so they can make appropriate preparations for your visit.

Based on what we currently know about coronaviruses, those most at risk of serious infection are:

  • elderly people
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (as they have higher rates of chronic illness)
  • people with chronic medical conditions
Internationally, data from the first three waves of the pandemic continues to show that children are affected less commonly and less severely than adults by COVID-19.  Even children with serious underlying conditions will mostly only experience a mild illness with COVID-19. For the best advice for your child and their specific condition, speak to their specialist.

For more on COVID-19 and children, see the ‘Health Advice’ section on our Information for children, young people and families page.

One of the most severe presentations of COVID-19 is a complex multi-system inflammatory condition terms Paediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome – Temporally Associated with SARS-CoV-2 (or PIMS-TS). It has some features that are similar to other rare auto-inflammation diseases, such as Kawasaki disease. Doctors from around the world don’t know why a very small number of children develop this condition when most other children are not affected. This is an extremely uncommon disease and most children who have developed the condition, including critically ill children, have all made a good recovery. If your child becomes unwell after having COVID-19 and you are worried about their condition, you should seek help from a health professional.
As long as COVID-19 is circulating in our communities, there is always a chance of being infected a second time (or more). The body may not develop good natural resistance from an infection or if it does develop some resistance to the virus, this can reduce over time. You can also be infected by a different variant of the virus.

In countries where COVID-19 has been circulating for a long time, about 1 in 10 people with COVID-19 are reinfections. That’s why, even if your child has had COVID-19, it’s important to get them fully vaccinated against it (if you haven’t already).

You should also continue to wear a mask when it’s not possible to socially distance, wash your hands regularly, and practise good respiratory hygiene to protect yourself and others.

Yes. It is possible to be infected with influenza (flu) and COVID-19 at the same time. ‘Flurona’ can cause serious illness, particularly for children, people with compromised immune systems and older people.

The flu can also increase the likelihood that you will be infected by other respiratory viruses including COVID-19.

Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent these viruses from spreading throughout the community. The annual flu vaccine is recommended for all people aged 6 months and over. The COVID-19 vaccine is available for all people aged 5 years and older.

Speak to your GP or healthcare professional to book your child’s flu and/or COVID-19 vaccinations.

You can have a flu vaccine if you are 6 months or older and you recently had COVID-19 but have no remaining symptoms (e.g. fever, sore throat, runny nose), or if the only remaining symptoms are a very mild dry cough which is persistent but not getting worse, mild fatigue or loss of sense of smell.

If you have COVID-19 and are isolating at home, you should not receive a flu vaccine until your isolation period has finished (day 8 onwards).

Note, children aged 6 months to 5 years should receive their flu vaccine from a GP.

Practising good hand and respiratory hygiene is important to help protect you and your family.

Always remember to:

  • clean your hands regularly with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rubs.
  • cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or flexed elbow when coughing or sneezing
  • avoid contact with anyone who has cold-like symptoms
  • keep your children at home from school or childcare if they are unwell
  • try to stay at least 1.5 metres away from people coughing or sneezing
  • if you or your child are unwell, avoid sharing utensils, cups and glasses
  • get vaccinated.

Masks are recommended when you cannot socially distance. Find out the latest mandatory mask requirements for Queensland. Children under 12 years and people affected by a medical condition or disability do not have to wear a face mask (please refer to the Queensland Health exceptions).

Children’s Health Queensland recommends all families stay up to date with government advice about children attending school, unless a child has a chronic or complex health condition and have been advised by a specialist that they should remain at home. If you are concerned about your child, please contact their specialist or GP.

For the latest school-related information, read these frequently asked questions

The most important things your child can do to stay COVID-safe in school, as well as the wider community, are to wash their hands frequently (especially before eating), practise physical distancing with their friends and practise good respiratory hygiene (cover coughs and sneezes). If they are unwell, you should also keep them at home (and get them tested if they have any symptoms of COVID-19).

For the latest news and information on current restrictions and health directions in Queensland, visit the Queensland Health website. Check the Department of Education website for information on possible school closures.

For more information about our services at the Queensland Children’s Hospital and across Children’s Health Queensland, visit our Service changes page.
In Queensland, anyone who has the following symptoms should be tested, no matter how mild:

  • fever (or history of fever) OR respiratory symptoms (cough, sore throat, shortness of breath). Children may also experience other symptoms, such as runny nose, headache, loss of smell, loss of taste, nausea or vomiting, muscle pain, joint pain, fatigue, diarrhoea, or a loss of appetite. Symptoms can vary depending on each case.
  • People in quarantine, in accordance with current quarantine protocols.
  • Contacts of confirmed or suspect cases.
  • If you are concerned that your child may have COVID-19 and requires medical treatment, please take them to the your nearest Emergency Department.
    Call emergency services on 000 if your child is very sick.
Queensland Health recommends that anyone, including children, with symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, loss of sense of taste or smell) gets tested each time they develop these symptoms.
You can tell your child that the swab won’t cause them pain, but it might feel a little uncomfortable for a few seconds. Please be assured our nurses will make sure your child is comfortable and settled before performing the test.

Please be assured our testing staff will make sure your child is comfortable and settled before performing the test.

If you child is sensitive about being touched or gets scared or aggravated in a medical setting, let staff know so they can work with your child in a way that keeps them calm.

Saliva testing is a test that uses the saliva from your mouth to test for COVID-19. The throat and nasal swab (also called PCR testing) remains the best test for anyone with symptoms because it is more accurate. At this time, the saliva test is only used as a screening test for some people without symptoms who will need frequent testing (people who are asymptomatic). Children often find it difficult to produce saliva for tests, so this may not prove appropriate for children.

PCR tests are generally more sensitive and accurate at detecting a current or recent infection. This test must be conducted at a COVID testing clinic by a health professional and results will usually take at least 24 hours. This is the best test to use if your child has symptoms.

A RAT kit is best used when your child is a close contact and has no symptoms. Kits can be purchased at various locations such as supermarkets and pharmacies, where available. Kits may also be provided at some COVID testing clinics. A RAT can be conducted at home and usually takes 15-30 minutes to give a result.

You can use a PCR test or RAT kit to test your child for COVID-19.

If you have been asked to isolate your child until your get their test results, it would be appropriate to tell your child’s school that they will be absent because they have to isolate after a COVID-19 test.
No, other members of the family or household who are feeling well are not required to stay at home or self-isolate while you wait for your child’s test results, unless directed by public health.

Children and adults will only need to self-isolate if they have been in contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19.

No, other members of the family or household do not need to be tested unless they have been in contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19 or they are feeling unwell.
If the result is positive, your child will need to stay at home in self-isolation for 7 days and until they recover. If their symptoms get worse, they may be admitted to hospital.

Please notify any household members or house-hold like contacts (a person who has spent more than four hours with the diagnosed person in a house or other place of accommodation care facility or similar) of the positive result and tell them to isolate and get tested.

If you haven’t done so, report your positive RAT result to Queensland Health. You do not need to take a PCR test to confirm a positive RAT result.

If your child’s test result is negative, you will receive a text message from the public health unit to let you know. If you or your child/family are not under a quarantine order and your child is well, they can return to school. If they are still feeling sick, you should keep them at home until the symptoms resolve, so they don’t spread the germs they do have.
In some cases, a result may be returned on the same day as your test but you should allow at least up to four days to receive the result.

With current high case and testing numbers, results may take longer than usual. If you are concerned, please contact 134 HEALTH.

For information about getting your child or young person vaccinated, visit our dedicated Vaccination page.
All children aged 5 years and older are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has approved the use of the COVID-19 Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine for people aged 5 years+ and Spikevax (Moderna) vaccine for people aged 6 years+ in Australia.

ATAGI has also recommended the Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine as a booster dose for adolescents aged 16-17 years.

Check the latest vaccination information for children, young people and parents.

Before a COVID-19 vaccine is used in Australia, it must be approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). The TGA assesses the safety, quality and effectiveness of the vaccines before they are registered for use.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) then reviews the available data on the safety and efficacy, the risk of COVID 19 infection for a specific group, and evidence of wider benefits and risks of vaccination.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has approved the use of the COVID-19 Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine for people aged 5 years+ and Spikevax (Moderna) vaccine for people aged 6 years+ in Australia.

If you have specific clinical questions about the vaccination, please speak to your child’s treating specialist or General Practitioner.

Book an appointment

  • Queensland Health vaccination location
    Registering your child online is the best way to secure an appointment at a Queensland Health vaccination location, including the Queensland Children’s Hospital. Walk-in appointments are available at selected locations, but cannot be guaranteed.

Once you have registered, you will receive an email inviting you to book an appointment in your local area when appointments become available.

Note: Parents and carers should follow the steps in this guide: Register and book on behalf of someone else (PDF). If you need help making a booking on behalf of your child, contact 134 COVID (134 268).

Your child will need two doses of the vaccine to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

These doses should be given eight weeks apart for both the Comirnaty (Pfizer) and Spikevax (Moderna) vaccines.

  • Children aged 5 years and over receive the Pfizer (Comirnaty) COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Children aged 6 years and over can receive the Moderna (Spikevax) COVID-19 vaccine.

Once your child has received their first dose, an appointment for their second dose should be made for you by the clinic.

COVID-19 vaccinations should be delayed for three months after a COVID-19 infection, regardless of age or which dose/booster is scheduled.

The influenza (flu) vaccine can be given on the same day as the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommends:
Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine as a booster dose for adolescents aged 16-17 years only

Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine as a booster dose for adolescents aged 12-15 years who meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • are severely immunocompromised
  • have a disability with significant or complex health needs
  • have complex and/or multiple health conditions that increase the risk of severe COVID-19.

Note: You must wait three months after the second vaccine, before getting a booster.

ATAGI recommends an additional winter booster for people at increased risk, to be given four months after their first booster dose. This applies to people aged 16-64 who have:

  • a medical condition that increases the risk of severe COVID-19 illness
  • people with disability who have significant or complex health needs, or multiple co-morbidities which increase the risk of poor outcomes from COVID-19.

Healthy people aged 16 to 64 years, who do not have a risk factor for severe COVID-19, are not recommended to receive an additional winter booster dose as their risk of severe illness after their first booster is likely to remain very low.

COVID-19 vaccinations should be delayed for three months after a COVID-19 infection, regardless of age or which dose/booster is scheduled.

Make sure you book your next vaccination appointment as soon as possible after this period. If you get COVID-19 again, you are less likely to experience severe disease if you have been vaccinated.

Yes, vaccinations for children aged 5-11 years can be booked via the Queensland Health website.

The single most effective tool available to prevent infection in children is to reduce infections in adults. Countries around the world have demonstrated the effectiveness of vaccination in achieving this. Young children who cannot receive a vaccine are protected by the vaccination of adults around them.

Additionally, physical distancing, good hand and respiratory hygiene are all important preventative actions we can take to prevent COVID-19 infection.

The risk of anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction) after a COVID-19 vaccine is extremely rare. This would usually occur within 15 minutes of receiving a vaccine – this is why it’s clinically recommended that people wait this amount of time before leaving the vaccination location.

Please ensure you tell the immunisation provider if your child has ever had a severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis before they have the vaccine so they can monitor them closely for a longer period if required.

If your child reacts to a particular food or medication such as an antibiotic, they are NOT at an increased risk of anaphylaxis following COVID-19 vaccination.

Yes, it is safe to attend the Queensland Children’s Hospital whether it’s through the Emergency department or for an appointment or planned admission. We have precautions in place to protect all visitors to the hospital and are ready and prepared to respond to COVID-19 presentations.
All urgent surgeries are proceeding as normal at this time. If there are any changes to your child’s scheduled surgery, we will contact you directly.
We have made some changes to the way some outpatient appointments are offered at the Queensland Children’s Hospital and our community sites during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes conducting more appointments via phone and teleconferencing.

If there are any changes to your child’s outpatient appointment, we will contact you directly.

If you have any queries about your child’s outpatient appointment, please call the Children’s Health Queensland Outpatient Call Centre on 1300 762 831.

Face masks are required to enter the Queensland Children’s Hospital and all other Children’s Health Queensland facilities, under current Public Health Directions. We recommend you check our latest updates page before your visit to see the restrictions and precautions in place to keep everyone safe.

Children under 12 are not required to wear a mask but encouraged to wear one if they are willing to. It is not recommended that children under the age of two wear a mask for safety reasons. Face masks will be provided at the entry to the Queensland Children’s Hospital.

Read more about how to safely wear a face mask for you and your family.

From 30 May 2022, you can visit the Queensland Children’s Hospital regardless of your COVID-19 vaccination status.

Restrictions remain for people who are:

These requirements will help keep our patients, families and staff safe from COVID-19.

See Visiting our facilities for more information.

Feeling unwell?

It continues to be important for family members and other visitors to stay away from the hospital if they are unwell, as they could pass an infection to your child or other children. Please also tell our staff if you or your child has had contact with someone who has recently been sick.

These requirements will help keep our patients, families and staff safe from COVID-19, influenza (flu) and other respiratory or other infections circulating in the community.

Questions?

Call 134 COVID (13 42 68) for general information about COVID-19, including testing and vaccination. You can also visit the Queensland Health COVID-19 website.
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