BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Maryland Department of Health on Tuesday launched a campaign to encourage parents to get their eligible kids vaccinated against COVID-19.

The ‘Real Kids’ campaign features children aged 5-11 why they got vaccinated in a series of television, radio and social media ads.

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The department said interviews with the children were conducted over the past few weeks at vaccination clinics in Baltimore City and Howard County and at a private pediatrics practice in Columbia.

Kids in the campaign described why they wanted to get the vaccine, which included getting to see loved ones and getting back into sports.

Seven-year-old Roslyn from Baltimore said she wanted to get vaccinated to help protect her little sister, who is too young to get the vaccine herself, according to the department.

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“It was easier than I thought it was going to be,” Roslyn said. “I was a little more nervous than scared.”

Department Secretary Dennis R. Schrader said getting children vaccinated as soon as possible is the best way to protect them.

“We know some parents are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach, even though they intend to get their children vaccinated eventually,” Schrader said. “We urge these parents not to wait and to get their children vaccinated as soon as possible. The vaccines are safe and effective for children and continue to be our best defense against serious illness, hospitalization and death.”

Children aged 5 to 11 were authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to receive the Pfizer COVID vaccine on Oct. 29, 2021. To date, 40 percent of eligible Maryland children have received at least one dose of the two-dose vaccine, the department said.

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CBS Baltimore Staff