Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. Infected people in all age groups – including adolescents - can transmit the virus to other people, even if they have mild symptoms or do not feel ill. The virus is spread from person to person through liquid particles such as aerosols (smaller) and droplets (larger) from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs, sneezes or speaks. People can catch COVID-19 if they breathe in these droplets from an adolescent infected with the virus.  Therefore, it is important to stay at least 1 meter away from others. These droplets can land on objects and surfaces. People can then become infected by touching these objects or surfaces, and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. Further resources:
Transmission of active COVID-19 (virus that can cause infection) through breast milk and breastfeeding has not been detected to date. There is no reason to avoid or stop breastfeeding.
Yes. Women with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 can breastfeed if they wish to do so. They should:
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand rub and especially before touching the baby;
  • Wear a medical mask during any contact with the baby, including while feeding;
  • Sneeze or cough into a tissue. Then dispose of it immediately and wash hands again;
  • Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces that mothers have touched.
It is important to replace medical masks as soon as they become damp and dispose of them immediately. Masks should not be reused or touched in the front.
It is theoretically possible that people living with HIV with low CD4 cell counts might have a weaker immune response to vaccines. However, in practice this has not been documented for all vaccines and there is no evidence to support a less robust immune response to COVID-19 vaccines among people living with HIV and low CD4 cell counts. WHO is reviewing new evidence as it emerges and will provide updates.  More importantly, advocacy is needed so that no one person is left behind and that national COVID-19 vaccination programmes do not exclude people from key and vulnerable populations, at risk of HIV, who may have limited access to health services. It is also important to advocate for the inclusion of people living with HIV, including those with more advanced disease, in COVID-19 vaccine trials to provide information to confirm efficacy.
Yes. Immediate and continued skin-to-skin care, including kangaroo mother care, improves the temperature control of newborns and is associated with improved survival among newborn babies. Placing the newborn close to the mother also enables early initiation of breastfeeding which also reduces mortality. The numerous benefits of skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding substantially outweigh the potential risks of transmission and illness associated with COVID-19.