Good Questions (and Answers) About Covid-19 Vaccines
Common questions children ask about vaccines, and possible answers.
Everyone has questions about the vaccines, and they can be complicated. It can be especially challenging to explain the answers to young children! Here are some questions children may be asking, and ways you might respond.
- How does the vaccine keep you from getting sick? The vaccine is a medicine that teaches your body to protect itself from a virus. That way, if the virus tries to enter your body, your body knows how to fight it off!
GETTING THE VACCINE
- Does it hurt? Like any shot, it feels like a pinch—just for a second.
- Why do some people need two shots? With some of the vaccines, the medicine works best if you get it two or more different times. The first shot helps your body recognize the virus and gets it strong enough to fight it off. The second (and third) one makes it even stronger—and makes sure it stays that way! (That’s true for many vaccines, not just for Covid-19.)
- Why did the vaccine make you not feel well? Does it mean you have Covid? No, the vaccine doesn’t cause Covid-19. Some people don’t feel well after they get the vaccine, but that means the medicine is doing its job—your body is working hard to learn to protect itself from the virus.
- How come some people got the vaccine before others? The people who got vaccinated first were the ones who would be in the most danger if they got sick. Neighborhood helpers, like doctors and ambulance drivers, also needed to go first so they could keep helping others.
- When will little kids get the vaccine? Doctors and scientists first had to make sure the vaccine was safe for grown-ups and older kids. Now children ages six months and older can get an age-appropriate dose of the vaccine, too.
- Now that you got the vaccine does that mean you won’t ever get sick? The Covid-19 vaccine only protects us from the virus that causes Covid-19.
- What can we do together now that you got the vaccine? When enough grown-ups are vaccinated, we can all be indoors together.
- Does getting the vaccine mean we will go back to normal? It won’t happen right away or all at once, but being vaccinated is the best way everyone can go back to doing more of the things we love (like seeing people and visiting our favorite places).
- Why do we still have wear masks and keep a distance from others? There are a few reasons:
- It takes the vaccine a while to do its job.
- The vaccines work for almost everyone, but a small number of people can still get sick after they’ve been vaccinated.
- We don’t know for sure how likely it is that a vaccinated person can still carry and spread the virus.
- For the vaccine to really work to end the pandemic, many people have to be vaccinated, and not enough people are yet.
Special thanks to Georges C. Benjamin, MD, American Public Health Association
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