Sesame Street’s 5-year-old Rosita, who recently got her first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
“My mommy and my papi said that it will help keep me, my friends, my neighbors, my abuela all healthy,” Rosita tells CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta on the sixth town hall co-hosted by CNN and Sesame Street’s Big Bird and friends.
“Your parents are absolutely right,” Gupta tells Rosita. “Covid vaccines are now available for children 5 years and older and the more people who get them, the better we’re going to be able to help stop the spread of Covid and keep everyone healthy.”
“The ABCs of Covid Vaccines.” is a half-hour town hall that is part of Sesame Workshop’s Caring for Each Other initiative. Funded by the nonprofit’s Critical Needs Response Fund, the initiative provides free resources for parents and families during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“By far the No. 1 thing that I hear is, ‘I don’t want this to hurt. How bad is it going to hurt?'” pediatrician and child development expert Dr. David Hill told CNN last month.
“I never lie to kids. I never tell them it’s not going to hurt at all or you’re not going to feel it, because it’s just not true,” said Hill, who is a co-host on the American Academy of Pediatrics’ flagship podcast, “Pediatrics on Call.”
Parents will certainly hear this question before they get into the car to go get the vaccine, and Hill has some ready advice:
“You want to be honest. You want to say, ‘You know what, it’s going to hurt just a little bit, but it’s not going to hurt as bad as some other things that happen to you all the time — like falling down when you’re running or stubbing your toe.'”
Getting vaccinated is a positive activity, and parents should emphasize the benefits, experts stress, such as more play dates with friends and seeing relatives or family friends who have been off-limits due to age or immune status. Get together, masks off, give grandparents or whoever a hug … you get everyone vaccinated and that’s exactly the scenario that can sort of play out,” Gupta stated. “The data has been really compelling. We knew how good the vaccines were from the initial data: They reduce the likelihood of infection 11.5 times and reduce the likelihood of getting severely ill 20 times. They’re not perfect. They’re really, really good,” Gupta said.
As far as kids are concerned, this is just one more shot just like all the others they get, Hill stressed.
As with adults, a child is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the second injection. At this point, there is no way for children to be fully vaccinated by Thanksgiving or Hanukkah, experts say. Therefore all precautions, including masking and social distancing from high-risk family members, should be followed.
As long as the first shot is administered by November 19, a child will have full protection for Christmas, Kwanzaa and end-of-year gatherings.