Answering kids’ (and parents’) questions about the Covid-19 vaccine for ages 5 to 11

It was a big day for Sesame Street’s 5-year-old Rosita, who recently got her first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.”My mommy and my papi said that it will help keep me, my friends, my neighbors, my abuela all healthy,” Rosita tells CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta on the sixth town hall co-hosted by CNN and Sesame Street’s Big Bird and friends.”Your parents are absolutely right,” Gupta tells Rosita. “Covid vaccines are now available for children 5 years and older and the more people who get them, the better we’re going to be able to help stop the spread of Covid and keep everyone healthy.”

Join Gupta, CNN anchor Erica Hill and the Sesame Street gang Saturday at 8:30 a.m. ET on CNN, CNN International and CNN Go, to see “The ABCs of Covid Vaccines.” The half-hour town hall is part of Sesame Workshop’s Caring for Each Other initiative. Funded by the nonprofit’s Critical Needs Response Fund, the initiative provides free resources for parents and families during the Covid-19 pandemic.

What do kids of that age really want to know?

Will it hurt?

Ouch. “By far the No. 1 thing that I hear is, ‘I don’t want this to hurt. How bad is it going to hurt?'” pediatrician and child development expert Dr. David Hill told CNN last month.

Why these families are jumping at the chance to get their kids vaccinated against Covid-19“I never lie to kids. I never tell them it’s not going to hurt at all or you’re not going to feel it, because it’s just not true,” said Hill, who is a co-host on the American Academy of Pediatrics’ flagship podcast, “Pediatrics on Call.”Parents are bound to hear this question before they get into the car to go get the vaccine, and Hill has some ready advice:”You want to be honest. You want to say, ‘You know what, it’s going to hurt just a little bit, but it’s not going to hurt as bad as some other things that happen to you all the time — like falling down when you’re running or stubbing your toe.'”

Can you keep it from hurting?

Being told it will hurt — even just a bit — might still be alarming for some kids, especially those who are hesitant about needles. There are things parents (and health care practitioners) can do just before and during the shot that can help, Hill said.Give the child a sense of control. Talk with the child about what they can do, such as deciding where they would like to receive the shot.”You like to play baseball and you’re right-handed, right? Maybe you want to have the shot in your left arm instead of your right,” Hill said.Kelly Foy and Pat McLarney, who are both child life education specialists at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, told CNN in a prior interview that younger children might benefit from advance role-playing, by administering vaccines to stuffed animals or dolls before their shot. Older children might write a list of questions for the nurse and doctor, they said.Use distraction and calming techniques. Hill suggests talking to children in advance about how they can use breathing and distraction techniques to reduce their focus on the shot.He suggests asking your child: “‘Do you know that if you take a breath and blow out really slowly things hurt less? They also hurt less if you’re singing or if you’re holding my hand.'”If you can reassure children that yes, you’re going to have control, and yes, it’s going to hurt a little, but we’re going to help you keep it from hurting as much as you think, those things can be very helpful,” Hill said.Sign up for CNN’s Stress, But Less newsletter. Our six-part guide will inform and inspire you to reduce stress while learning how to harness it.A child could also hold some ice to their arm to numb it just before the shot, Foy and McLarney suggested. (Buy an instant cold-pack to use or check with your pediatrician in advance to see if they can refrigerate one.)Pop-it toys, fidget spinners, bubble wrap, squeeze balls, even vibrating toys can also be great distractions, they said. Older children may benefit from creating a playlist of songs to listen to, playing a video game, or cuing up a distracting video to watch.Play a fun activity to do after. Kids get excited about family outings, visits to their favorite places and play dates, experts say. So plan something fun they can look forward to.

Positive attitudes are key

Getting vaccinated is a positive thing, and parents should emphasize the benefits, experts stress, such as more play dates with friends and seeing relatives or family friends who have been off limits due to age or immune status.Being upbeat about all the benefits of the vacciine will help your child, experts say.”Get together, masks off, give grandparents or whoever a hug … you get everyone vaccinated and that’s exactly the scenario that can sort of play out,” Gupta told CNN anchor John Berman on CNN’s New Day this week.”The data has been really compelling. We knew how good the vaccines were from the initial data: They reduce the likelihood of infection 11.5 times and reduce the likelihood of getting severely ill 20 times. They’re not perfect. They’re really, really good,” Gupta said.As far as kids are concerned, this is just one more shot just like all the others they get, Hill stressed.

These states and cities are offering to pay kids if they get vaccinated“How they react is going to be very largely — if not completely — dependent on how the adults in their lives frame the experience,” he said.”If we are expressing concern, skepticism or worry, they’re absolutely going to pick up on that. If we’re expressing confidence and relief, they’re going to pick up on that as well. And children are always listening, even when we think they aren’t,” he added.,50834687.html–174856293/





Related posts

Leave a Comment