Tips to help making a COVID-19 vaccine shot less scary for young children

Around 20% of America’s children 5- to 11-years-old are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

A Mayo Clinic doctor who wants them all to get their shots has advice for parents for talking to their kids about vaccines.

“This is a very important issue. We are suffering a pandemic right now. Your children and their livelihoods are at risk,” said Dr. Robert M. Jacobson, a pediatrician and vaccine researcher with the Mayo Clinic Children’s Center.

Boosting kid’s comfort level about getting vaccinated against the coronavirus or receiving any vaccine on routine vaccination schedules should begin with a conversation.

“The child should not first be hearing about the vaccine when they show up at a provider’s office or at a pharmacy,” Jacobson said.

He said parents can explain that the pain of getting a shot is brief, but benefits are long lasting.

“Teach them that the vaccine teaches the body to defend against the germs and the harms that these germs do,” he advised.

Developmentally, youngsters are looking to demonstrate some mastery to be in the process of growing up and Jacobson said parents can assure kids that getting vaccinated is a sign of maturity.

“This is very grown up of them. This is very mature. Those are words that reward the child that was 5- to 11-years-of-age that they’re doing the right thing,” Jacobson said.

He also said parents can lead by example by getting their shots, staying up to date with vaccinations and sharing their experience with their kids.

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Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

This content was republished with permission from CNN.

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