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Keeping kids in the loop with COVID-19 and vaccines

Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 9:19 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Although it’s been nearly two years since the pandemic began, it can still be a tough conversation to have with kids, who have questions about the current situation.

COVID-19 has affected children and adults in different ways, not just physically but mentally and emotionally as well. Dr. Jennifer Haggar, a pediatrician with Sanford Health, said the pandemic has been something that although children recognize, they may not know why even after almost two years. And it’s taken it’s toll.

“But I think it has affected our children tremendously. Both the impact on their families, their education, their social lives. So it’s a really diverse topic that we need to be talking with them about.” said Haggar.

Haggar said even though COVID-19 and the pandemic are a familiar topic now, it’s still important as ever to keep kids in the know with updates. She said that children may know more than parents think about what’s going on in the world, and that parents should be proactive in keeping them up to date with the best information possible. She also said that parents should ask their children what they think, and to not shy away from tough questions.

“So if you ask them questions, you’ll be amazed. Kids know a tremendous amount, they’re preceptive. This is, as we all know, very ingrained in our lives at this point. So if we can figure out where they are, we can make sure we’re sharing better information.” said Haggar.

In addition to talking to children about the pandemic, Haggar said keeping children up to date with vaccines is important as well. Along with Sanford’s own clinics, Haggar said there’s many options that offer vaccines for children and adults. That includes a vaccine clinic Monday at the Empower Campus in East 8th Street in Sioux Falls, hosted by Lewis Drug and South Dakota Voices for Peace.

“One of the things that we heard from parents is just that it was really convenient,” said SD Voices for Peace Community Outreach Coordinator Saliya Ali. “They had just gotten off work. And so, they can come and get their boosters, and then also get their children vaccinated after they’re done with work.”

Haggar said those vaccines for children ages five and older are the best defense against serious cases of COVID-19, and will help keep them healthy.

“Vaccines continue to be our best defense against serious disease. They continue to reduce hospitalizations, and make COVID so it’s significantly less severe.” said Haggar.

Haggar also noted that if a child asks a question that parents don’t know the answer to, to be honest and say so. She said finding that information out from trusted sources together will help kids better understand what things they may be unsure about.

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