Paediatric Vaccination Clinic

Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) offers a vaccination clinic for children and youth who need extra support not typically available in traditional health-care or community vaccination settings.

It is available to families with children aged six months to 17 years who have a valid OHIP card and require a vaccine listed under Ontario’s Routine Immunization Schedule (including influenza and COVID-19 vaccinations).

Children and youth who may benefit from the Paediatric Vaccination Clinic include those who have:

  • Anxiety related to needles;
  • A fear of medical procedures because of negative experiences in the past;
  • Medical complexities; or
  • Unique mental health, sensory or behavioral needs
  • There may be other scenarios in which it would be appropriate for a child to access our clinic. We encourage you to contact us to discuss your child’s specific circumstance if it's not listed above.

How to book an appointment

Our clinic runs by appointment only on Wednesdays from 4-7 p.m. in the Paediatric Medical Day Unit at Children’s Hospital – Zone B, Level 1 (view map and directions).  

To book an appointment for your child, please fill out our referral form and email it to OR have your primary care provider fill it out and fax it to 519-685-8431. Once the referral is received and reviewed by our team, we will call you to set up an appointment. (Note: Please include the child’s up-to-date immunization record with the referral form.) 

Frequently Asked Questions

Tell me more about your clinic?

The Paediatric Vaccination Clinic at Children’s Hospital is the first of its kind in Ontario, offering a supportive and individualized, team-based approach to pediatric vaccine care.

It is held in a low-stimulation, no-pressure environment where there is no shaming, blaming, bribing or judgement. We have a 92 per cent success rate because we believe in meeting children where they’re at.  

Our team consists of pediatric-trained staff, including a Nurse Practitioner, Registered Practical Nurses and Child Life Specialists. Together, they use a variety of strategies geared towards each child’s age and developmental stage to empower them to overcome their fear of vaccinations.

How can the clinic help my child successfully receive their vaccine?

Our Paediatric Vaccination Clinic team uses a variety of strategies based on each child’s age and developmental stage.

Some of our approaches include:

  • Scheduling a visit to help the child become familiar with the clinic space and equipment in advance of their appointment
  • Rehearsing the steps to the procedure so the child knows what to expect
  • Using medical play to empower the child to feel a part of the procedure
  • Offering honest, developmentally appropriate education to help build trust  
  • Developing individualized coping plans and teaching coping strategies (such as deep breathing and other relaxation techniques)
  • Providing sensory toys and distractions (including virtual reality goggles, videos and video games)
  • Offering pain management (such as numbing cream) and other comfort measures (such as comfort positions)
  • Providing a private, low-stimulation environment with longer appointment times
  • Administering the vaccine in a non-clinical environment (such as an Art Therapy room) if the child finds exam rooms triggering

Developmental considerations:

  • Under 12 months: Often benefit from comfort positioning with parent/caregiver, sucrose, distraction and numbing cream.
  • Pre-school (3-6): Often benefit from parent/caregiver involvement, developmentally appropriate preparation, use of comfort items, numbing cream, comfort positioning and distraction.
  • School-age (6-12): Often benefit from parent/caregiver involvement if choice and privacy are respected, developmentally appropriate preparation, medical play, numbing cream, comfort positioning and distraction.
  • Adolescents (12+): Often benefit from education and resources about vaccines, needle-based anxiety, pain management, coping skill development and desensitization strategies, while promoting opportunities for choice and respecting autonomy.
Is there anything I can do to help my child prepare for their appointment?

Yes! You know your child best, which means you play a key role in helping to prepare them for their vaccination appointment.

We highly recommend the following:

  1. Book a pre-appointment phone call with one of our Child Life Specialists. During this call, they will get to know you and your child and help you come up with an individualized plan for success. 
  2. Tell your child about the appointment in advance and be honest with them about its purpose. This will allow them time to ask questions and seek out any information they may need, which is key to building trust and helping them feel in control. 
  3. Model calm, relaxed behaviour and speak to them in a positive, reassuring tone, regardless of their age or developmental stage, before, during and after the appointment.

You may also wish to encourage your child to have a snack and drink before their appointment time, as being hungry or thirsty can make it hard to stay calm and focused.

What do I need to bring to my child’s appointment?

Please bring your child’s health card and up-to-date immunization record to their appointment.

You might also wish to bring items that are distracting or comforting, such as your child’s favourite blanket, stuffed animal, smoother, book, tablet or toy.

What can I expect during my child's appointment?

After you check in for your child’s appointment, you will be asked to complete a medical questionnaire together in the waiting room. A Child Life Specialist will then take you both to a private space to discuss your individualized plan, before a Registered Practical Nurse (RPN) comes in to administer the vaccine.

How can I help my child during their appointment?

There are many ways you can help your child cope with needle procedures in the moment. Some of these include:

  • Recognizing that needle-based anxiety is very common for children and youth, so they know they’re not alone
  • Giving them a distraction task, such as deep breaths, squeezing your hand tight, naming all the colours of the rainbow, etc.
  • Avoiding comparisons such as “Other children your age don’t make this big of a deal,” as this can create shame
  • Using positive phrases like, “You can do hard things” and “I am here with you,” to build their confidence
  • Being specific about what they’re handling well
  • Remaining calm and confident in them and the process
  • Being physically close to them, if they desire this
  • Offering them choices like “Do you want to sit on my lap or by yourself?” to help them feel in control
Does your clinic offer travel vaccines?

We plan to begin administering travel vaccines and other vaccines not covered by OHIP in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for more information.

Where can my child get their vaccinations if they’re not eligible to attend this clinic?

Children and youth who do not meet the eligibility criteria for our Paediatric Vaccination Clinic can still receive their vaccinations through their primary care provider, a walk-in clinic or the Middlesex-London Health Unit’s Immunization Clinic.

Are there any resources you’d recommend I check out?

Contact us

Staff are available to answer questions about the Paediatric Vaccination Clinic from Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Telephone: 519-685-8500 x56918
Fax: 519-685-8431
In person: Children’s Hospital, Paediatric Medical Day Unit, Zone B, Level 1