Ollie the comfort dog makes getting COVID vaccinations easier for California children
Many parents have experienced the difficulty of comforting a crying child as they're getting a much-needed shot.
Now that U.S. officials are recommending that children as young as 5 and up be vaccinated against COVID-19, a number of parents and healthcare providers are coming up with innovative ways to make the process easier for children who are afraid of needles.
One hospital in California has taken the extra step of hiring the services of over a dozen four-legged professionals trained to comfort anxious patients, and according to BBC News, the results have been quite successful.
Ollie, a six-year-old Goldendoodle, is one of the 15 therapy dogs at Rady Children's Hospital and he's become something of a celebrity due to his ability to ease tension during the vaccine process.
Blanca Montano, a registered nurse at Rady's Vaccine Clinic says, "I just saw how many children... were wanting the vaccine, but they'd walk in the door and think about a needle and just fall apart. So, Ollie could sit right next to them and they didn't need to be held."
Carlos Delgado, a hospital spokesman, also noticed the impact Ollie had on patients, saying, "Some of them as you can see, the anxiety level was so high, kids crying. But when that dog showed up, it just kind of brought some relief, and made it a lot easier for the process."
Ollie and his companions have been helping patients at the hospital for a long time, but were forced to put a pause on their visits due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Now that children are being vaccinated, the dogs are back and the staff is grateful for their assistance.
In healthcare locations where therapy dogs are not available, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that there are steps parents can take to allay a small child's fear of needles.
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