01 DEC 2021

Tips to Help your Child with Vaccine Anxiety

A small child receives his first COVID-19 vaccine dose at his doctor’s office.
A small child receives his first COVID-19 vaccine dose at his doctor’s office.

Almost no one likes getting a shot, but for some people, especially children, it can be downright terrifying. And with the approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children age 5-11, some parents may find their children dealing with fears and anxiety about getting vaccinated.

Here are four tips from NorthBay Healthcare pediatrician Michael Ginsberg, M.D., to help ease the anxiety for your child:

  1. Don’t surprise your kids with a shot. “Tell them where they’re going and why,” says Dr. Ginsberg. He recommends that parents answer questions their children may have and explain that the vaccine helps their body defend against germs and the harm they do.
  2. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. “If you tell them that it won’t hurt and then it does, they will learn not to trust you,” says Dr. Ginsberg. “Be honest that it will hurt a little bit but the pain won’t last.”
  3. Set a good example by getting the vaccine yourself. And don’t be afraid to share your experience with your child.
  4. Set reasonable expectations for behavior and a reward for it. “For example, it is not reasonable to ask a child not to cry,” explains Dr. Ginsberg. “But It is reasonable to ask a child not to fight.”

For parents who want a bit more help in answering their children’s question, talking with your family doctor or pediatrician can help. They should be a part of the decision-making on how to pursue preventive care for you and your children.

Interested in signing your child up for the vaccine? Fill out our COVID Vaccine Sign-Up Form here or call (707) 646-5500.

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