Some worry about having an immunization is common, in children, youth and adults! Being prepared, having a plan and using strategies we know work can set you up for success to receive the vaccine in your community or at a mass vaccination site!
Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre, in partnership with Middlesex-London Health Unit, is offering a COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic for children and youth who may benefit from extra support. The clinic is now available to families with children aged 5-11 and those aged 12-17.
You or your child may benefit from the extra supports the Children’s Hospital COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic offers if any of the following are true:
- You or your child have needle anxiety and you are behind on immunizations or avoid bloodwork
- You or your child have general anxiety that may require extra support
- You or your child have behavioral needs, and may require extra time
- You or your child sensory needs (such as low stimulation, limited people and private room)
Appointments can be booked on the Middlesex-London Health Unit booking portal. Parents, caregivers and other household family members (age 5+) of the youth are welcome to be vaccinated at the same time. Please also book an appointment for those people on the same day. They will be seen close together if they arrive at the clinic at the same time.
If you or your child would like a preparation phone call prior to arriving for your appointment, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Book your appointment today.
Date and Time:
Tuesdays from 4:00 - 7:00 pm
Children’s Hospital, Pediatric Medical Day Unit
Zone B, Level 1
Preparing for your visit
You know your child best, which gives you a key role in preparing your child for life experiences. This includes your child’s vaccination appointments.
Before the appointment, and during the appointment, it’s important for you to model relaxation skills and have a calm and positive tone with your child, at all ages and stages.
Did you know that 25% of adults have a fear of needles? For children that number is even higher! You are not alone. Planning before you come is key! Below are tools for both adults and children to help you plan to help cope with the worry having a needle can bring.
Print out or bring your coping plan with you to help our team members make your experience as comfortable as possible.
For more information and resources, visit please visit Middlesex-London Health Unit's website.
Other considerations for preparing for your visit:
- Ensure that you and your child have a snack and drink before. Being hungry or thirsty can make it hard to focus or stay calm.
- Make your plan! Having a plan can help you or your child feel in control. Check out the tools above to guide planning. There are additional resources below.
- Consider numbing cream. Numbing cream can be purchase at your local pharmacy. Ask a pharmacist about proper location and application.
- Bring items with you that are distracting or comforting. This could be a favourite blanket, stuffy, soother, book, tablet, are toy. Often headphones help make video/game distraction more effective!
- Be honest with your child – do not lie about the purpose of the visit. For children 12 and over, tell them when the appointment is made or at least two weeks prior. They are likely to have questions or want more information. This gives them time to prepare and seek out the information they need.
During the visit:
There are different ways that science has taught us help children cope with needle procedures:
- Anxiety around needles is very common for children and youth, and its important they know they are not alone.
- Taking deep breaths, using distraction or having a job (like squeezing your hand tight, naming all the colours of the rainbow, or saying a really long word) can help!
- Avoid comparisons such as “this is the same needle we use on babies” or “the 5-year-old we had earlier didn’t make this big of a deal.” This can create shame. Instead use phrases like “You can do hard things” or “I am here with you.”
- Provide positive encouragement and praise for things well done. Be specific.
- Try to remain calm and confident.
- Use of active music listening, games on a phone or fidgeting objects can be helpful.
- Be physically close to your child. It’s often best for children to sit up in your lap if they choose. Your nurse can help ensure it’s a safe position.
- Offer choices. Even simple things like “do you want to sit on my lap, or by yourself” can help your child feel more in control of their emotions.
Additional Resources for parents/caregivers:
- Fact sheet: COVID-19 vaccines for children aged 5-11 (Last updated: Nov. 25, 2021)
- Fact sheet: COVID-19 vaccines for youth aged 12-17 (Last updated: Sept. 24, 2021)
- Comfort Promise Learning Hub
- Tips from a psychologist! Preparing Kids (and Parents!) for COVID Vaccines
- Learn more about Comfort Positioning
- More about distraction and helpful phrases when your child is scared or anxious.