Categories: Coronavirus

Helping your child with vaccine fear & anxiety

The COVID-19 pandemic has put the whole world in great danger we have never witnessed before.

With each passing day, the COVID-19 pandemic is causing fear and distress in people. During these times, getting ourselves vaccinated can help us a lot in our war against Covid. The vaccine can decrease the risk of getting infected and transmitting the virus. Vaccine against COVID-19 is safe for both adults and kids.

The government recently approved COVID-19 for children of the age group of 15-18 years. According to the guidelines released by the Ministry of Health, the approved vaccine for children is Covaxin. The government started the vaccination drive for children on 3 January 2022.

Eligibility criteria for child vaccination

Anyone born in 2007 or earlier as on the date of vaccination is eligible for vaccination. Children themselves or their parents can register for the vaccine on the CO-WIN app.  One can also book vaccines directly at the vaccination centres.

COVID-19 impact on children

We heard a lot about COVID-19 symptoms and their complications in adults. Let’s discuss its effect on children. The impact of the COVID-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2 virus) can be different in children and adolescents. Symptoms can be mild in children compared to adults. Sometimes the infected children do not show any symptoms. Some common symptoms of COVID -19 in children are:

  • Mild to moderate fever
  • Cough and sore throat
  • Cold and sneezing
  • Some children may experience loss of smell and taste
  • Some children may have gastrointestinal problems like vomiting or diarrhea

Fear regarding vaccination in children

There is some anxiety among parents about the side effects of the Covid 19 jabs and their long term effects on children.  There is a common apprehension among parents that vaccines may cause fertility problems in their children in the long run. Let’s discuss the effects of the vaccine on children.

  • Long-term harmful effects of covaxin are rare. The most common reported side effect of covaxin is pain and soreness at the injection site. Some children may also suffer from mild fever. These symptoms may disappear on their own after 1-2 days.
  • Against the common myth that Covaxin may cause infertility in children, there is no scientific proof regarding the correlation between the COVID vaccine and infertility in children or adults. Covaxin has not shown any fertility-related side effects till now.
  • The covaxin is manufactured by following proper safety protocols and is tested rigorously before getting approved for usage for children. The vaccine has a dead virus, so it cannot give the infection to the recipient. It only strengthens immunity in children.

Many children have a fear of needles that may even get worse with age. Some children may become anxious around doctors.

How to help your child to this overcome fear and anxiety?

It is natural for children to be fearful of shots in children. Parents can help their children to overcome this fear and anxiety by some  methods such as:

  • Talk to your child about the importance of COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Parents can become role models by demonstrating to their children that there is no pain while getting shots.
  • Accompanying comforting items during shots like a favorite book or audio music can distract your child and reduce their anxiety.
  • Parents should teach their children many coping methods to overcome fear, like deep breathing before and during getting shot and squeezing a ball or your hand.
  • Parents should also remain calm during vaccination. Children tend to get more nervous when they see their parents getting anxious about things.
  • Parents should try to avoid using any negative words on their children.
  • Instead of criticizing your child, reassure them that it’s ok to get frightened and you are right there for them. Reassuring your children can help them to cope with the situation.
  • It is also advisable for you to discuss your child’s fear of needles with medical staff before taking jabs so that they can also help in dealing with your child’s fear of the needle.
  • Encouraging words like “you did a good job” may help your child a lot after vaccination.

Remember, our war against COVID-19 will not be over until and unless our children are safe from it. Getting our children vaccinated can be the biggest milestone in this fight against COVID-19.

Dr. Chandrashekar | Consultant – Paediatrics | Narayana Multispeciality Hospital, HSR Layout 

Narayana Health

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