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Doctors encourage parents to discuss children’s concerns about COVID-19 vaccines

Virus Outbreak New Jersey
Posted at 8:48 AM, May 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-13 11:48:59-04

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now recommending Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for everyone 12 years and up, looping in more adolescents.

Some parents are eager to get their child vaccinated, about 3 in 10, according to a survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

But other parents are a little more hesitant. A quarter say they will wait to see how the vaccine is working. About 18% only plan to get their child vaccinated if the school requires it and 25% say they will definitely not have their child get the vaccine.

This lines up with how adults felt about the vaccine for themselves. But a children's doctor we spoke with says to remember the reward outweighs the risk.

“It's important to listen to scientists and credible news. And this vaccine is very safe, and we've seen already in those aged 16 and over. So now, it's going to be a little bit lower,” said Dr. Miguela Caniza at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

For some families, it may be that the child is nervous about getting vaccinated. In this case, Dr. Caniza says it's important to have a conversation with your kid about their concerns.

From her own experience with her 18-year-old daughter, she says it's best to keep things short and to the point.

“I learned that they usually don’t like long explanations. Kind of remove all the technical stuff and just be very simple with it. And maybe appeal also to their emotions, because we are all emotional people and especially teenagers,” said Dr. Caniza.

She also says make sure you’re not dismissing any of their concerns.

If there is something you don’t know the answer to, reach out to your pediatrician.

It’s also important to note that Pfizer clinical trials have seen the same vaccine side effects as adults, things like a sore arm, body aches, chills, fever, all things that only last about a day.

Dr. Caniza says the vaccine is our ticket out of the pandemic and kids getting vaccinated is part of that.

“I would say to the parents, please consider this vaccine very strongly,” said Dr. Caniza.