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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Helping with fear of vaccination

Awhinatia mai – Whiua te ngarara

If you or your child are anxious about having a vaccination (immunisation) or you're scared of needles, there are several things that can help.

Helping your child

You will need to comfort and reassure your child before and after their vaccination.

If you are anxious about your child’s vaccination, it may be helpful to bring a support person to help.

Do not give your child paracetamol or ibuprofen before their vaccination – health professionals do not recommend it. But you may give your child pain relief afterwards if they have a fever or pain.

Before and during the vaccination

Do not use scary words about having a needle or an injection and do not tell them it won’t hurt.

After the vaccination

While your child may cry for a short time, this is a normal way of coping. Try to stay calm while comforting them with words and holding them.

Feeding your baby straight after their vaccination may help calm them.

Distract your child with a favourite stuffed toy, blanket, book or game.

You will need to stay for 20 minutes after the vaccination, so you'll need something to keep them busy while you wait.


Prepare for your vaccination visit by:

If you're worried about the needle hurting, tell the vaccinator – they can give you advice about ways to reduce the pain.

You can buy a numbing cream from a pharmacy to put on the skin where you'll get the injection at least one hour before your vaccination. It will be wiped off just before your injection.

If you're concerned about fainting:

If you have severe anxiety about vaccination or needles talk to your GP about other options such as medication.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Page created July 2021.


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Review key: HIIMM-47872