The Piper + Enza team has gathered some resources to help you prepare your 5-11 year old to get their COVID vaccine, which will be approved any day now!

As adults, most of us were able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine this past spring, followed by older kids and teens in the summer. We are now just days away from vaccine approval for 5-11 year olds. For those of you who plan to vaccinate your kids in that age group soon, we wanted to share some resources that can help you prepare them, both physically and emotionally, for the experience.

HealthyChildren.org has a great checklist of to-do’s that can help you through the vaccination process.
    • Call your child’s pediatrician or primary care doctor and tell them you’re planning to have your child vaccinated. Ask them questions and share any concerns you may have.
    • Your child can also receive routine shots at the same appointment for the COVID-19 shot. This includes getting an annual influenza shot. Ask if your child is caught up on all routine immunizations.
    • Schedule your child’s COVID-19 vaccine appointment at your pediatrician’s office, vaccination clinic, pharmacy, community vaccination site, church or school. Some sites may even have walk-in hours.
    • Talk with your child before the appointment. Many parents may have concerns about how their child might act when they need a shot. But there are simple ways to help make it a positive, calm experience (MORE ON THIS BELOW).
    • After your child receives their first vaccine, schedule the second dose. Make sure that your pediatrician’s office has a copy of the card in your child’s medical record. Your child’s school or college health office also may need a copy of the card.
    • Keep the paper vaccination card you will receive! Don’t laminate the vaccination card, in case more information needs to be added. Take a photo of it or copy it and keep everything in a safe place. And to avoid identity theft risk, don’t share a photo of the card on social media.

Your child is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the second dose of the vaccine. Encourage your child to keep doing their part to protect others by wearing a face mask and following other steps to keep people with a high risk of infection safe. Then they can get back to activities they enjoy like sports, choir, plays and parties with some added confidence that they are protected!

The Child Life Perspective

Our resident child life specialist and founder of Child Life on Call Katie Taylor has some tips to support a positive vaccination experience for your child and family. Below is an excerpt from her recent blog post on the subject.

This vaccine requires two shots several days apart which means a positive first experience can help how a child will cope with the second. If the first vaccine experience is associated with a lack of control, discomfort and pain, it is likely that the second experience will be similar.So, how do we get ahead of this? I have a couple ideas and I’d love to hear yours, too.

First, create an “immunization station” experience much like a treatment room.

Use these decals to make the room more patient-friendly and educate about the WHY.

Second, prepare the child by sticking with the facts:

  • Getting this medicine will help stop the spread of COVID-19
  • The medicine has to be given by a nurse
  • The nurse will clean the patient’s arm or leg with an alcohol wipe
  • The medicine is given with a small needle that will stay in for about 1 second
  • The nurse will put a band-aid on the medicine spot
  • The procedure is over and you will be observed for 15 minutes after the medicine is given

Third, offer choices (that are actually choices):

  • Would you like to sit on your caregiver’s lap or by yourself?
  • Which arm/leg would you like the shot in?
  • Would you like for the nurse to count to three?
  • Bring your own band-aid like one of these
  • Pick a squeeze ball to hold in your hands during the shot
  • What do you want to look at?
  • What would you like to do after the shot while you are observed?

Fourth, when the procedure is over, talk about  what worked and what didn’t:

  • Did you like that the nurse counted to three?
  • Did you like picking your own band-aid?
  • What did the medicine feel like?
  • How long did it last?

Fifth, reinforce positive behavior:

  • Offer a small reward or incentive that promotes the positive behavior that the child showed
  • Reinforce with validating statements
    • “Wow, I could tell you tried really hard to stay still.”
    • “I saw how you kept your arm in the position I told you about.”
    • “You squeezed that ball just like you said you would.”

Read Katie’s entire blog post here, and check out her video on how she talked to her 5-year-old about the vaccine.

We hope that you found this post helpful as you prepare for this experience as a family!