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AUGUST 31, 2021

Back to School with COVID-19
By Alyssa Medenblik

With the exciting news that the Pfizer vaccine is now FDA approved, many people who were previously hesitant to receive a COVID-19 vaccination may be more comfortable doing so. While Pfizer is the only vaccine to date to receive this approval, the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are still highly effective at reducing severe illness and death related to the virus. 
 
Pfizer’s vaccine receiving FDA approval is a important development in the efforts to increase vaccination rates across the country. However, anxiety about COVID-19 is still a major concern for many Americans, especially those who have children younger than twelve years old who are going to school in-person. Kids clearly benefit from in person learning and  being around other kids in a classroom, the Delta variant of COVID-19 is a new version of COVID-19 that it makes being in these classrooms higher risk for kids than in the past year and it has been shown to spread even in people who are vaccinated As a result of this new variant, the CDC is recommending that parents mask kids ages two and up when they are indoors, even if they are vaccinated.  The good news is that we have learned from experience last year that masks can greatly slow down and even prevent the spread of COVID and that vaccines still protect us from severe disease even with the Delta variant. More masking for everyone and more vaccinated teens and adults will help us all stamp out this variant and get everyone back to school safely.

Kids understandably might not want to wear a mask, even if you want them to.  This is a normal part of child development and you can address this as you would any other conflict about articles of clothing, like shoes and pants.  If you can calmly make it clear to your child that you expect them to wear a mask and that it is not a big deal, many kids’ resistance will eventually decrease and stop. You could also consider providing a reward for times they wear it without a fuss.  Another great approach is making it a game or explaining the positive aspects of wearing the mask so that it can appeal to your kids’ desire to be a helper. One story making the rounds is a father telling his child that superheroes wear masks and they do it to protect other people. 

With students returning to school this month and next, it is also important to acknowledge any Covid-19 related anxiety and to talk this through with people who are important to you. also may include communicating with your family, friends, and community members about your expectations and comfort levels regarding masking and distancing. If you are experiencing a great deal of stress and anxiety during this time, please speak to your healthcare provider or seek out resources! KnoxWell has resources for discussing COVID-19 with your children as well as resources for handling stress and anxiety. Check out these pages on our website and utilize these strategies during this difficult time!

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APRIL 15, 2021


COVID-19 Vaccine Anxiety

As more Tennessee residents become eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, some may experience hesitation or stress related to receiving their first (or second) dose. Vaccine related anxiety is a valid emotion, and there are ways to help combat dealing with uncertainty.

It’s important to identify the source of your anxiety related to the vaccine. If your worry is about the safety of the vaccine, educate yourself through reliable resources about the way they were developed and how these vaccines work in the body. Here is a helpful guide from the CDC about common misconceptions. If you are concerned about side effects related to the vaccine, recognize that those are common, short-lived, and a sign of your body’s immunity at work!

It’s very common to have fears related to receiving a new vaccine, but it’s also important to recognize that the approved COVID-19 vaccines are the safest way to build protection from the virus. Vaccinations combined with continued masking and social distancing is the best way to protect yourself and reduce chance of spread to others. With these amazing tools, we may soon see a halt to this virus!

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