Health

COVID-19 Jab related anxiety in teens: Tips and Strategies for parents to help them deal with it.

Shikha Batra
11 to 16 years

Created by Shikha Batra
Updated on Apr 02, 2022

COVID 19 Jab related anxiety in teens Tips and Strategies for parents to help them deal with it

With the beginning of vaccination for all children whose birth year is 2007 or before from January 3 and those born on or before March 15, 2010 from March 16, 2022, with the mandated Corbevax, the Covid-19 vaccine, many anxiety related incidents have been reported in teens. 

Recent Update: According to the Co-WIN app, so far over 90 million adolescents have been vaccinated in the 15-17 age group.

Although there have been negligible instances of adverse events among adolescents as per the members of a government panel, some vaccination sites reported anxiety-related  events including events of syncope (fainting ) among girls after administration of the vaccine. 

As on March 12, India reported 1,739(minor), 81(serious) and six(severe) adverse events post-vaccination in adolsecents. Minor adverse events like pain at the site of injection, mild fever and swelling have been reported too which got resolved on their own without any intervention as per the member of the Govt. panel investigating serious adverse events arising after inoculations. 

The panel has not yet found any correlation between the severe adverse cases like high fever, anaphylaxis (which is a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction that needs to be clinically treated) and vaccination, reported at few vaccination centers. The report of the committee is likely to be out in the public domain soon. 

Teens who are fearful of the needle prick have perpetual nervousness of getting a jab. Fear of the needle can get them in a difficult spot. To add to their woes innumerable myths and rumours on Covid-19 and its vaccine spreading rapidly through social media have added to their anxiety and confusion. The images might be nerve-wracking for teens who dread getting injected.

Here are some handy tips for parents to help their teen deal with the pre-vaccination anxiety:

  1. As they say “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing”, it is advisable to help your teen stay abreast with the latest developments about the vaccine and its side effects. Collect information from authentic sources and share it with your teen.   Help them stay away from rumors and unfounded information. 

  2. Learn about the signs and symptoms post-vaccination with your teen. Try helping them do mental rehearsal and visualize the scene after getting the jab. Prepare them for slight soreness in the arm post-vaccination, little fatigue, mild fever.

  3. Allow them to discuss their fear of vaccines with you or a trusted adult with whom they are comfortable talking to. This will help them keep their anxiety at bay and be calm. Also share your positive vaccination experience with them. Getting to know your first hand experience  will give them the mental support to combat unnecessary vaccine related anxiety. 

  4. Help them reframe their thoughts by understanding that the benefits far outweigh the downsides i.e. the momentary discomfort or the mild side effects that they might or might not even have after getting the jab. This will motivate them to overcome their fears and help them prepare themselves for the vaccine.

  5. Discuss with them coping strategies to deal with their fears rather than disregarding their fear or calling it childish behaviour. 

 

Some of the Coping strategies might include :

  • relaxation techniques such as deep-breathing techniques and visualization.

  • looking away while being injected.

  • numbing the injection site with ice or a prescribed ointment so that they don’t feel the shot.

  • exposure therapy wherein they are shown pictures or videos of needles and gradually moving on to showing them someone else getting a shot. Over a period of time this will reduce their anxiety. 

 

While  they are getting their jab, click their picture and share their success story with friends and family along with their COVID Vaccine Certificate (CVC). This will help them create a pleasant memory and help them deal with future vaccinations without getting anxious..

Please share your experience on what techniques you’ve adopted that helped your teen in getting a hassle free vaccination experience.

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