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Tips to prepare your child for the COVID-19 vaccine

Health

Tips to prepare your child for the COVID-19 vaccine

With children ages 5 and older now eligible to benefit from the lifesaving COVID-19 vaccine, millions of parents across the country are now planning to get their kids vaccinated against the disease.
Although children may be reluctant to receive shots, getting them vaccinated against COVID-19 is important to limit the spread of the virus and help prevent them from getting ill, says Dr. Lucretia Carter, a pediatrician with Tidelands Health Pediatrics on Holmestown Road in Myrtle Beach.
“Although kids may not necessary like getting shots, the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine outweigh the temporary discomfort,” Dr. Carter says.

Preparation important

Preparation is key to helping children feel comfortable, Dr. Carter says.
If your child asks in advance whether they will be receiving the shot, be honest, discuss any fears your child may have and explain why the shot is important, she says. Set realistic expectations by explaining the injection will pinch or sting, but only for a few seconds, and discuss the possibility of other temporary benign symptoms after vaccination such as arm soreness or fatigue.

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When deciding when to tell your child about the vaccination, consider their age, maturity level and experience with previous vaccinations, Dr. Carter says. In general, it’s appropriate to wait until the day of the shot to tell the child, especially if he or she tends to be anxious about vaccinations.
“Explain the process, what they might feel and how long it will take. The unknown can be scary for children, so helping them understand what will happen can remove some of the anxiety,” she says.
Try to remain as calm as possible when you tell your child about the shot and lead them through the process, Dr. Carter says. Your positive and relaxed attitude can go a long way toward helping your child to stay calm, too.

More tips

Here are some additional tips for children.
Ages 5 to 7:

  • Take a fidget spinner or Pop It with you to the vaccination. These items can help children work through anxiety.
  • Bring a favorite stuffed animal, toy or blanket to help comfort your child when receiving the vaccine.
  • Read children’s books or watch children’s shows about going to the doctor and getting shots.

Ages 8 and older:

  • Answer questions as honestly as you can. If you don’t know an answer, help your child find the answer.
  • Bring a stress ball or therapy putty to help relieve anxiety.
  • To help children focus their energy, bring a book or find another activity to occupy them while waiting to get the shot.

Many parents also choose to establish a reward for children to receive after the shot, Dr. Carter says. This can be helpful because it gives kids something positive to think about and a way to celebrate their accomplishment after they are vaccinated.

Special vaccination events

Wondering where or how to get your child vaccinated? At Tidelands Health, our region’s leader in COVID-19 vaccination, it’s easy for eligible children to receive the vaccine.
Throughout November and December, the health system will be holding special, after-hours vaccination events in Myrtle Beach where eligible children and adults can receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, including the third dose and booster dose for eligible individuals.
Each of the following events will be held at Tidelands Health Medical Park at Holmestown Road, 4320 Holmestown Road in Myrtle Beach:

  • Thursday, Nov. 4, 4:30-7:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, Nov. 11, 4:30-6 p.m.
  • Thursday, Nov. 18, 4:30-6 p.m.
  • Thursday, Dec. 2, 4:30-6 p.m.
  • Thursday, Dec. 9, 4:30-6 p.m.

Effective Monday, Nov. 8, Tidelands Health will begin offering the Pfizer vaccine to children ages 5-11 at the health system’s three conveniently located walk-in regional vaccination sites, and Tidelands Health will also soon begin administering the vaccine to children ages 5-11 at primary care offices with regularly scheduled appointments. For more information, please click here.
Individuals ages 12 and older can already receive the Pfizer vaccine, including third doses and booster doses for eligible people, at the health system’s regional vaccination sites and Tidelands Health Family Medicine locations with regularly scheduled appointments.

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