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Clinical psychologist offers tips to prepare kids for COVID-19 vaccine

Indiana is expecting 200,000 vaccines for kids this week.

INDIANAPOLIS — The CDC's advisory committee is set to meet Tuesday to talk about recommending the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11.

This would be the first vaccine designated for this age group in the U.S.

Indiana is expecting 200,000 vaccines for kids this week. Some parents may be looking to vaccinate their children right away, but getting a shot can be a real fear for some kids. 

Hillary Blake, clinical psychologist at Riley Hospital for Children, offered a couple of tips for parents. “I always go with two things. I always come with an iPad. What we know about pain in kids and pain in adults is if we distract ourselves, it actually reduces the pain signals that are sent to our brain," she said. 

"The other thing we highly recommend is called Buzzy. What it does is vibrates and confuses the nerves in your arm so that the kid does not feel the pain," said Blake. "When I use these, a lot of times kids won’t flinch, they won’t even know it, they may give just a quick 'ow.' They can feel the sensations, but they won’t feel the pain.” 

Blake also suggests not fooling your child into thinking they're not getting a shot when they are.

“Don’t make it a secret that they’re getting a shot. Prep them before they go, don’t be mouthing to the physician ‘don’t tell them, don’t tell them.’ If you don’t tell them what’s going on, they’re not going to trust their providers and they’re also not going to trust you as a parent," said Blake. 

"We recommend that any time a nurse touches you, a physician touches you, that you say what you’re going to do before you touch the child.” 

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