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Drew: Benefits of COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents

By Samuetta Hill Drew

The news media reports daily about the deescalating numbers of Americans who have contracted the COVID-19 virus. The reports also cover the decreasing numbers of Americans voluntarily receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

The numbers are reducing so rapidly around the country that some sites are concerned about the expiration date running out on vaccine they have on hand, while others around the country are either closing or contemplating closing some of their COVID-19 vaccine sites.

Our President has adjusted his goal of having 70 percent of Americans receiving at least one dose of the vaccine by July 4th to later in the month of July. Some concerns have arisen about what age group is showing the lowest number of individuals receiving the vaccine. This age group includes adolescents and young adults under 30. Concern is also for those states with extremely low vaccination numbers, like Alabama.

These concerns by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are valid because this particular age group and/or states could stagnate our downward trend of infections and increase them in particular areas of the country which could spread elsewhere.

The CDC feels that widespread vaccination is a critical tool to help stop the pandemic. It is important to remember that yes, fewer children have been infected with COVID-19 compared to adults, but children can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, get sick from COVID-19, and spread it to others.

So, if your child is apprehensive about taking the vaccine, below are some preparation tips you can use to help them understand its importance and how it will protect them:

  • Talk with your adolescent before the visit on what to expect.
  • Tell the nurse or doctor about any allergies your adolescent may have or remind them of the importance to share this information prior to receiving the vaccine.
  • Some people have a fear of needles and shots. Therefore, comfort your adolescent during the appointment with an upbeat conversation or laughter.
  • Never scold him/her for not “being brave.”
  • To prevent fainting and injuries related to fainting, your adolescent should be seated or lying down during vaccination and for 15 minutes after the vaccine. Note, fainting can be common among adolescents immediately after getting shots.
  • After your child gets vaccinated, you will be asked to stay for 15-30 minutes so your child can be observed in case they have a severe allergic reaction and need immediate treatment.

Next week’s article will discuss safety tips after the shot and possible side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine. While we all are feeling a little bit more normal, it’s important for all of us to remember, as we Keep an Eye on Safety, that the pandemic is not over.