[2 MIN READ]
In this article:
- Dr. Robin Henderson, PsyD, Chief Executive, Behavioral Health for Providence Oregon and Chief Clinical Officer, Work2BeWell discusses the effects of quarantine and isolation on children.
- Vaccines prevent sickness and hospitalization from COVID-19 in children.
- Young people share their thoughts on the COVID-19 vaccine.
We’ve all had a rough 18 months adjusting to a world with COVID-19, but according to our experts, our kids have had a particularly difficult time. While we know vaccination is a tried-and-true way to combat diseases like COVID-19 – and our best path to getting back to normal – it’s a very personal decision, especially when you’re making it for your kiddo. Here are some things to consider if you’re on the fence about getting your children ages 12-17 vaccinated.
Kids can be kids again
Our children have missed out on so much this past year and have had to sacrifice some of what makes kids, kids. Getting them vaccinated will allow them to get back to the things they love — sports, sleepovers, camps and hanging with friends.
Dr. Robin Henderson, PsyD, Chief Executive, Behavioral Health for Providence Oregon and Chief Clinical Officer, Work2BeWell spoke with three young people about their thoughts and feelings around the COVID-19 vaccine and one participant, Molly, had this to say: "It’s definitely been a really mentally challenging year for me and I’m just really looking for a sense of normalcy and I knew the vaccine was going to be a great way to find that." Children should be out living life safe from the virus. This summer, let’s help our kids be kids again.
Kids are suffering from the social, emotional and mental effects of the pandemic
Children are feeling more scared, lonely, anxious and depressed as a result of COVID-19’s imposed limitations, such as quarantine and isolation. Being away from friends and familiar activities can be hard on the mental health of children.
“Isolation and loneliness are significant contributors to the long-term mental health of children and youth,” according to Dr. Henderson
“We’re definitely seeing increases in anxiety and depression in youth, much of which can be attributed to the complete disruption of normal social activities created through pandemic isolation and social distancing.”
When asked if she felt like her mental health was still affected by COVID, teenager Lianna said “Oh, a hundred percent. Oregon is opening up and that just gave me a bunch of anxiety because living in this situation for so long—I mean, it’s only been a year and a half but it felt like forever—and being away from people and to think that there’s still some people not vaccinated kind of scares me."
Getting kids vaccinated means they can start to safely socialize and get together with their friends, peers and loved ones again. Plus, the protection the vaccine gives may ease anxiety of getting sick from COVID-19.
Youth perspectives on the COVID-19 vaccine
Dr. Henderson spoke with three young people in a Providence Facebook LIVE event and you can watch their conversation in the video below. Hear how the COVID-19 pandemic affected their well-being and what they think about the vaccine, in their own words.
Vaccination can provide peace of mind for parents, too.
It’s not just kids that can benefit from the vaccine. Parents get some relief too! The vaccine can mean more peace of mind in sending kids to friends’ houses or camp or going on a family vacation, without the worry of them getting seriously sick. Parents also have the added benefit of knowing vaccinated kids are unlikely to contract the virus and expose those at risk of getting very sick from the disease.
The vaccines are safe and effective for children 12 and up
Right now in the U.S., the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is authorized for use in children 12 and up. The vaccine is encouraged by public health authorities and has been proven safe and effective for everyone 12-17 years of age. We know that the vaccine prevents sickness and hospitalization from COVID-19, and that side effects are generally mild. Down the road, other COVID-19 vaccines for children and adolescents are expected to be available once clinical trials have been completed.
A fully COVID-19 vaccinated child is a protected child. And, while we do recommend everyone who can get the vaccine do, we know it might not be right for everyone. Check with your local or state health department for more information about the vaccines and what activities children can do following vaccination, and talk with your child’s health care provider to discuss what options are available and right for your family. You can also learn more about the benefits and potential risks of vaccinating your children for COVID-19 here.
Find a doctor
If you have questions about vaccinations or want to secure one for your child, make an appointment with your primary care physician. If you need a doctor, you can find a Providence provider in your area by searching in our online provider directory.
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This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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