COVID-19 vaccinations and kids: Teaching your child about the vaccine
When preparing your children to get the COVID-19 vaccine, it is important to ask them what they know about it. This guide can help you talk to your kids and address questions or misconceptions they may have.
It is important to be honest in an age-appropriate way when answering their questions. Children will pick up on the emotions of their caregivers, so it is important to speak to them in a calm and supportive manner.
How to help answer questions your children may ask
- Why do I need to get the vaccine?
Vaccines are special medicine given to help prevent us from getting sick from different viruses. They help your body fight germs. Vaccines have a tiny piece of a germ that teaches your body how to fight off that germ.
- What if I am scared to get it?
The COVID-19 vaccine is similar to other vaccines that you have gotten in the past. It will be a small poke and will feel like a pinch, and your arm or leg may feel a little sore afterwards. You may feel tired after getting the vaccine, but this is normal.
How to help teach your children about getting a vaccine
It is best to be honest with your children and use descriptive words to help them know what they may feel, hear or see when they get the vaccine.
Talk with your child and create a plan for what they would like to do when they get the vaccine. This may include sitting in your lap, holding a hand, looking away, or watching something on a phone or tablet. Creating a coping plan can help them have a “job” and know what to do and expect while they are getting the vaccine.
What will I feel?
You will feel the nurse clean your skin with a cold wet wipe. The nurse then will give you your vaccine. When you get your vaccine you will feel a pinch, and your arm may be sore from the medicine. After you have gotten the vaccine, your nurse will put a band-aid on your arm or leg.
What will I see?
You will see many different people when you come to get your vaccine. You will be in a small room with a chair or a bed. When you first arrive, someone will check you in and a nurse or pharmacist will come to your room to give you your vaccine.
What will I hear?
There might be other people in the clinic at the same time as you. You may hear other people talking during this time.
What can I do?
When you are getting your vaccine, you have one very important job, and that is to hold still. Different kids like different things. Some kids like to watch, while others like to look away. Talk about what may be helpful for you. Sitting in a caregiver’s lap or holding a hand may also be helpful.
How long will it take?
Getting your vaccine will not take long – likely only 5 – 10 minutes. Once you get your vaccine, you will have to wait in your room for another 15 minutes before you can go home.