Some tips to help you ease the anxiety of childhood immunisations.
• Be calm and positive. Your child is very sensitive to your emotions.
• For children, the anticipation of vaccinations is far worse than the vaccination itself. They often do not have the ability to make sense of the lengthy explanations which parents give ahead of time. The most important strategy is to inform your child about the immunisations immediately prior to the vaccinations being given. Take your cue from our experienced Practice Nurses and Doctors in this regard during the consultation.
• Be positive when talking generically about vaccinations with your child along the lines of “ we need vaccinations to stay healthy and to protect us and to keep us safe”. “Vaccinations are very important”. “We are lucky to be able to have vaccinations” etc.
• Please don’t excessively reassure and apologise to your child. Speak calmly and rationally. Children pick up on your cues and your anxiety.
• Don’t give false reassurance that it won’t hurt, and instead, indicate that it it will feel like a pinch and will be over quickly.
• EMLA (local anaesthetic) cream or patch can be purchased without prescription from the pharmacy ahead of time and placed on the muscle of the shoulder (deltoid) of a toddler or child or the mid outer third of the thigh in a baby, an hour or two prior to the appointment in order to numb the area.
• During the vaccination process, hold your child firmly and close, showing them that they are safe and they are loved.
• We encourage you to bring a favourite toy or item of comfort for your child for the vaccination appointment.
• We are experienced at giving vaccinations at WSD and allow the child to be in control as much as possible – eg holding the fancy bandaid, sitting upright, choosing which arm they would like and other strategies.
• Breastfeeding babies immediately after vaccination is an excellent settling tool.
• We also use distraction techniques following vaccination such as bubble blowing, stickers and stamps and (if parents permit) for older children, the occasional lolly snake.
• Paracetamol is not required prior to vaccinations on the Childhood Schedule. It can be given in the case of fever or discomfort following vaccination if a cuddle and a warm bath are insufficient. The exception to this rule, is the Bexsero vaccination, the extra vaccination for Meningococcus B, where predosing with paracetamol is recommended because of the increased chance of developing a fever.
• At Walker Street Doctors, we recommend that babies have Bexero vaccination in addition to the other vaccines on the schedule and we provide these vaccinations to our patients at a cost of $165 per vaccine.
Immunisation is the safest and most effective way of providing protection for your child against a range of diseases including tetanus, whooping cough, measles and Hepatitis B. The benefits of vaccinations outweigh any risks of vaccinations, which are usually mild and self limiting such as mild fever following vaccination.
Our registered practice Nurses, Bronwyn and Maureen are skilled at childhood vaccination, and patients are able to book in directly to our Practice Nurse for an immunisation consultation on Ph: 9955 5566. Alternatively, you can book in with one of our doctors through our online booking system to discuss any concerns you have with your child or undergo a developmental screen prior to our Nurse giving your child’s vaccinations.
There are few medical reasons to delay vaccination. If a child has a temperature over 38 degrees, the immunisation should be postponed until the child is recovered.
An important feature of immunisation is that it brings benefits not only for the individual but also for the whole community by a concept known as herd immunity. If enough people in a community are immunized, the infection will not be able to spread.
The National Immunisation Program Schedule is updated regularly and is available online at www.immunise.health.gov.au
If your child is incompletely vaccinated, a Catch up Program can be individualised for your child through www.immunisationcalculator.sahealth.sa.gov.au