Children and Teens

Last Updated: January 6, 2022

Risk and Safety 

Children With IBD icons

Not everyone is at the same risk of serious COVID-19 disease. Children and adolescents tend to have more mild symptoms if they do get the disease.

If a young person is on immunosuppressant medications, we cannot say that there is no added risk, but their young age, good general health, and good disease control should put them at a lower risk of severe COVID-19 than the older adults. Beyond age, COVID-19 risk factors often relate to cardiovascular disease and blood pressure.

Watch the 5-minute video to get the latest on how immunosuppressant medications affect the risk of getting COVID-19 in children with Crohn's or colitis.

Children with inflammatory bowel disease should continue to be careful and avoid contact with others, but there is data that suggests medications may not increase a patient’s risk for bad outcomes if they are exposed to COVID-19. The only exception is steroids (e.g., prednisone), which likely increases the risk of severe COVID-19.

Watch the 6-minute video to learn more about what we know to date about how children who have Crohn's or colitis are faring in terms of COVID-19.

Watch the 3-minute video below learn from gastroenterologist and infectious disease experts about the safety of medication use in children with during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Caring for your Child during the pandemic

If your child is immunocompromised because of Crohn's or colitis, then try to stay away from other people as much as possible, and especially keep them away from large gatherings. They should wear a mask (KN95 or N95 preferred, or a 3- or 4-ply surgical mask) when indoors with people outside their immediate family.

Families should discuss with their healthcare providers the best options for administering medications to their children during the pandemic.  

For young patients that are experiencing pain and or fever, Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is safe to use. However, follow the directions on the package and speak with your healthcare provider if you have liver problems. 

For more expert guidance, visit our Recommendations for IBD page

Vaccination for Children and Teens

The benefits of COVID-19 vaccines far outweigh the risks in children and teens with IBD.

We strongly recommend vaccination against COVID-19 be given to all children aged 5 and older. This consists of a 3-dose course of mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna). The second dose should be given 4 weeks after the first dose. The third dose should be given 4-8 weeks after the second dose if the child is on an immunosuppressing medication.

reopening of schools and economy

For expert guidance on if your child should return to school and take part in extra-curricular activities, please click here. 

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  • Canada has among the highest incidence rates of Crohn's and colitis in the world.
  • 1 in 140 Canadians lives with Crohn’s or colitis.
  • Families new to Canada are developing these diseases for the first time.
  • Incidence of Crohn’s in Canadian kids under 10 has doubled since 1995.
  • People are most commonly diagnosed before age 30.