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Child Psychology Experts Give Advice To Parents On How To Talk To Kids About COVID-19 Vaccines

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- As federal health leaders mull over children between the ages of 5 and 11 getting the COVID-19 vaccine, KDKA took a look at how you can discuss this topic with young children.

Doctors say it is rather easy. Health leaders say adults are the ones who make it harder than it needs to be.

"Don't make it a big deal," said Dr. Gary Swanson, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Allegheny Health Network. "Answer questions they have, but don't give them too much information. Kids are very reactive to how parents come across."

If you are anxious, your child may follow suit. Dr. Swanson said the best thing you can do is to keep it simple.

"Most kids are worried about getting a shot. They are not worried about what's in the shot. They are worried about the shot itself," Dr. Swanson said.

Allegheny County Health Director Dr. Debra Bogen said you should address what your children have heard about the vaccine.

"Once you know what they know, you can reinforce the information that is correct and gently correct any misinformation they may have heard from others," Dr. Bogen said during Wednesday's briefing.

Dr. Abigail Schlesinger, the chief of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry with UPMC, said you should do what you can to make children comfortable.

"If a young child is comfortable with a stuffed animal or a book or some item of distraction, they should bring that," Dr. Schlesinger said.

Doctors said if you have any questions, talk with your pediatrician.

Dr. Bogen said many providers are getting doses of the vaccine to be prepared if there is an authorization. She said there may be some bigger clinics to get shots in arms.


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