Vermont: Children-Facing COVID-19 Vaccine Podcast


Vermont Public utilized their podcast platform to tell the real-life stories of children who were part of the COVID-19 vaccine trials.


Children and parents in Vermont harbored concerns following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) emergency use authorization of the COVID-19 vaccination for children ages 5 to 11 in August  2021. This population had not yet been the main target for COVID-19 public health materials, creating an opportunity for novel outreach methods to promote COVID-19 vaccination in this newly eligible population. 


Vermont Public, a public broadcasting collaborative, published a COVID-19 focused podcast in its “But Why?” series for kids on October 22, 2021. This episode answered questions from children and parents about COVID-19 vaccination for children ages 5 to 11. The podcast, produced by Vermont Public employees, featured children and their parents who participated in vaccine trials at Stanford University, Jenna Bollyky, MD, a Stanford trial investigator, and Mark Levine, MD, the Vermont health commissioner. The children who participated in the trial shared their experience of receiving two doses of the vaccine, which their parents corroborated. Dr. Bollyky provided background information on how vaccines work, and why it needs to be administered via a shot. Dr. Bollyky, Dr. Levine, and the podcast host answered questions about the vaccine process from other children, like “why do shots hurt?” The podcast concluded with encouragement from Vermont Public for children to submit any other questions about COVID-19 or vaccines. The podcast provided all participants with a platform to advocate for getting the vaccine. A synopsis of the podcast, as well as a recording and transcript, are available on Vermont Public’s website.


The podcast provides an opportunity for both children and adults to learn from medical professionals and through the experiences of the public with the COVID-19 vaccine. Hearing directly from those who have already had the vaccine during its trial helps foster a sense of connection and relatability for children and parents considering vaccination.

Supplemental Resources

Years: 2021

Locations: Vermont

Programmatic Areas: Adolescent Immunization, Communication, COVID-19, Public Health Functions

Key Words: Adolescents, college and universities, Communication, COVID-19, Health Promotion, Immunization Education, public awareness

Evidence Based: No

Evaluations: No

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