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Talking to your kids about getting the vaccine | Wear the Gown

12-to-15-year-olds will become eligible to get the vaccine in Texas this week.

SAN ANTONIO — As 12 and 15-year-olds across the country become eligible to take the Pfizer vaccine, they may have a lot of questions. You and your child can have multiple discussions about getting the vaccine.

First and foremost, it's important to listen to your children and their concerns. By discussing the vaccine, both you and your child can learn from each other and other sources along the way. 

"Talk to trusted sites. Just don't go to everywhere on social media and make your decision. It may take you a while, but you'll get there," said Dr. Brigitte Bailey, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at University Health.

She advises keeping politics out of the discussion. 

"We as parents need to make sure that our political issues don't affect what our kids are doing and what our kids want to do," Bailey said. 

She says when talking to your children, explain the benefits of the vaccine and how it's similar to the flu vaccine they get every year. You can tell them people have died from the virus if they bring it up. You want to be truthful and keep your credibility. 

She also suggests explaining how it is OK if others choose not to get the shot. Respect their decision and don't judge them. Have a family meeting to discuss the pros and cons of the vaccine. Use educational materials to fit the age of each child. If your child is vaccine-hesitant, encourage them to ask questions and include your family doctor and other trusted sources.  

"The local churches are still huge in communities of color, so I think we need to utilize them more," Bailey added. 

Because kids want to feel safe, explain how getting the vaccine will help them return to the way life was before the pandemic.

"It's going to keep us and our family safe," Bailey recommended phrasing it. "We're going to be able to go out in public and socialize more like we do with the flu."

As soon as University Health gets the green light from the state about the vaccine's availability for 12-to-15-year-olds, they are ready to administer the vaccine. They will provide information and updates here

For information on community resources for mental health for both adults and children check out University Health's Behavioral Health page here: https://www.universityhealthsystem.com/services/behavioral-health/resources

For more information about family health call 210-358-3045. You can also find the rest of Wear The Gown stories, just go to WearTheGown.com.