How to prepare for your child’s vaccination visit

Vaccinations can be a difficult time for both parents and children. How do we make it less traumatic for everyone?

1. Be informed

Know what vaccines your child should receive and when. Whether it may be their based on their National Childhood Immunisation Schedule (NCIS) or for the latest children’s flu vaccination.
You can consult the National Childhood Immunisation Schedule (NCIS) for the complete list, and access their National Immunisation Record on HealthHub.

2. Prepare your child

If your child is a toddler or preschooler, explain to them what a vaccine is and what to expect at the doctor. Don’t make a big deal out of it or make them apprehensive, be calm and honest when explaining to them.
A good time to have this talk would be the morning of the visit or night before, so they do not build up fear or anxiety in the days leading up to the appointment.

3. Make the visit easier for your child:

For babies

  • Cuddle them and speak or sing softly to soothe them
  • If you’re breastfeeding, nurse them during or right after the vaccination to help calm your child down

For older children

  • Distract them – point out interesting things in the room, bring a favourite book or toy to the doctor and focus on that instead
  • Comfort and talk to them, let them that you are with them and that everything is okay
  • Be supportive, especially after the vaccination – never scold them for crying or being scared

4. What to expect after the visit

Sometimes children experience mild reactions from injections, such as pain at the injection site, a rash or a fever. These reactions are normal and will soon subside.

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