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Virtual program helps educate kids on the COVID vaccine

The Van Andel Institute has an interactive, online learning program for parents and teachers to help explain vaccines and how they work.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Moderna recently began testing its COVID-19 vaccines on babies and children under 12. 

Locally, the Van Andel Institute has an interactive, online learning program for parents and teachers to help explain vaccines and how they work. 

"It makes them feel a little bit more knowledgeable and a little bit safer," says Chief Education Officer Terra Tarango.

It's called VacciNation, and it was created to make learning easier.

"There is certainly this overwhelming kind of feeling of powerlessness that you have as a kid, so much is happening that's out of your control," says Tarango. "Then you add a pandemic on top of that and it can really lead to kids not feeling like they understand the world around them."

The program is full of videos, slideshows, and even hands-on activities to get your kids involved.

"They actually get to pretend to be a vaccine scientist and make fake vaccines and test them to see if they are effective and safe," explains Tarango. "Through that hands-on and inquiry-based type of learning, they really understand what these vaccines are all about."

Tarango says when talking with your kids about the vaccines, don't be afraid to be honest about your own feelings.

"If you do have any apprehensions, share that with them," she says.

And show them examples successes throughout the years.

"So they can see how many really terrible, debilitating things are no longer something we have to battle because of vaccines," says Tarango.

The program includes a version for students as well as a tutorial for parents on how to teach the lessons. To download it, click here.

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