Talking to Your Child about the COVID-19 Vaccine
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. Every child over age 5 in the United States is now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.
These safe, effective vaccines are the best way to protect your child and your family from COVID-19. Your child may have questions about the vaccine and why they need it.
This information can help you talk to your child about the COVID-19 vaccine.
How Do I Explain to My Child that Vaccines Are Important?
One of the best ways to talk to your child about vaccines is to explain that they keep us safe and healthy.
Vaccines protect your health – like eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and being active. COVID-19 vaccines are also important to help protect others.
You know your child best. Talk to them at an age-appropriate level.
If they’re older children, encourage them to find information from trusted resources, and talk with you about it.
How Do I Help My Child Find Reliable Health Information
It’s important to talk to your child about how to find trustworthy health information. Especially as they start to go online independently.
Here are some tips to help make conversation easier:
Talk to your child about where to find credible information
Misinformation is everywhere online. But your child can always find good information from trusted health care organizations. Encourage them to look at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization, and hospital websites (like St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital). Together by St. Jude is a great place to find trusted medical information, too.
Encourage your child to ask questions.
Explain why it’s important not to believe everything friends post about health on social media like Facebook or Instagram.
Let them know you can help
Let you children know they should come to you if they have questions about what they've seen online.
Tell them they can talk to their doctor, too.
Your child’s doctor is a reliable source of information. Let them know they can ask their doctor if they have questions about something they’ve found online.
How Can I Help My Child if They're Nervous about Getting the Vaccine?
It depends on why they’re nervous – and how old they are.
- If your child is nervous because they don’t like needles, there are strategies you can use to help them. Many providers have numbing sprays or other items available to help with the initial stick pain.
- Depending on your child’s age, they may want you to hold them during the vaccine. And that’s OK. Give them that option.
- Other children may want to bring a favorite toy with them. They may want to listen to music or watch a favorite show as a distraction.
- If they’re nervous about the vaccine itself, talk to them about why vaccines are helpful. Let them know that vaccines help keep our bodies safe and healthy. Explain that vaccines are safe and that researchers work to be sure that they are.
- If your child is old enough, you can also encourage them to research information on trusted websites.
- Every child age 5 and over in the United States is now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.
- COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. They are our best defense against COVID-19.
- Vaccines help us protect our health. They can keep us safe from preventable illnesses.
- There is a lot of misinformation online about vaccines. Use trusted sources to be sure what you’re finding is true and accurate.
- You can take steps to help your child be more comfortable if they’re nervous about vaccines.
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