Immunisation is a simple and effective way of protecting yourself and your family.
Immunisation works by triggering the immune system to fight against certain diseases. If a vaccinated person comes in contact with these diseases, their immune system is able to respond more effectively. This either prevents the disease from developing or reduces the severity.
Immunisation not only protects your own family, but also others by helping to control serious diseases in our community.
Immunisation is a very safe prevention tool
All vaccines used in Australia must be approved for use by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), who monitors the safety of medicines in Australia. Before a vaccine can be licensed, it is rigorously tested over several years to ensure it is safe and that it works.
Talk to your doctor or immunisation provider if you have any concerns about vaccine safety.
Deciding to immunise
The risk of side effects from an immunisation is far less than the risk of severe complications associated with a vaccine preventable disease.
Many of these diseases are highly contagious and can be overwhelming to the body’s defences. Most unvaccinated people who come into contact with an infected person will catch the disease. For example, if someone has whooping cough, up to 90% of the unimmunised people in their household will catch the disease. This means it is not only important for babies to be vaccinated, but also for all family members to be up to date with their boosters.
This means it is not only important for babies to be vaccinated against whooping cough, but also for all family members to be up to date with their boosters. Vaccination records might be needed to enrol your child in childcare or school. Unvaccinated children will be excluded from school if there is an outbreak of certain vaccine preventable diseases.
Queensland children currently have a high vaccination rate. More than 90% of 5 year old children entering primary school are fully immunised.
If you have a reaction after immunisation
Serious reactions to immunisation are rare. While some people may experience mild side effects such as pain, swelling and redness at the injection site, these usually resolve quickly.
If you experience any symptoms that concern you, call 13 HEALTH, your doctor, or your immunisation provider.
All vaccine service providers are required to report any serious reactions following immunisation to Queensland Health. This information is then sent to the TGA which rigidly monitors and manages vaccine safety in Australia.
It's common to feel anxious about have a vaccination, particularly a fear of needles. This fear can come from the thought of the needle, the procedure, or the substance being injected.
If you are scared of injections, you can manage your anxiety by:
relaxing with a few deep breaths
distraction with a phone or tablet
playing with toys or fiddle objects
talking beforehand about what to expect
asking the nurse to use an anaesthetic cream or numbing device before injecting.
Talk to your doctor for more information about how to manage anxiety around immunisations.
In the video below, we explain some ways you can help your child manage their anxiety about having a vaccination.
What is needle phobia?
What is needle phobia?
Needle phobia is very common for adults and children and it does affect up to 25 percent of the population. When it becomes persistent and prolonged it causes anxiety and it can interfere with actually having the procedure done, then it becomes an actual phobia which is called belenophobia.
So there's different types of needle phobia it's the thought of it, the actual process, it can be the thought of the substance going into the muscle and other needle phobia for example blood procedures, so taking blood as well.
What strategies can I use to manage needle phobia?
There's definitely things that you can do at home. You can talk to your child about where the phobia has come from or where the fear has come from. It could be from a procedure previously in life for a young child, or being held down. And talking about it with them definitely does help and also telling them the truth about what is going to happen to them.
Getting as much information as you can. So calling your practice, your vaccine service provider to get all the information about what vaccines are going to be given or what procedure is going to be done, and explaining that to your child to an age appropriate level.
What techniques can be used to manage needle phobia?
We can use breathing techniques, so deep breathing in and out. Closing their eyes, visualising other things.
Other methods, whether it's an iPad, a phone or a game that they can use. Rattles for younger children and just comfort and cuddling, holding for younger children as well with the parent.
How can the Queensland Specialist Immunisation Service help with needle phobia?
We use a lot of distraction therapy. So you can see the lovely wall art behind us, so with the younger children we use that as well as other methods.
I think its learning to deal with those phobias, so it's managing them in yourself. So it's giving strategies to the parents and the children to manage their own anxieties and it's often very effective. And working with our team we often have great success with children who are unable to be vaccinated safely in the community and GP settings.
As well as we use numbing devices and nerve stimulators that distract (from) the procedure. It scrambles the brain to think that nothing is happening underneath that BuzzyBee?.
How do I access the Queensland Specialist Immunisation Service (QSIS) for help with needle phobia?
In Lady Cilento Children's Hospital we have a referral process to our specialist service and that is on the Lady Cilento Children's (Hospital) website through the QSIS referral process.
And Telehealth is available for our specialists to talk to the GP or vaccine service provider to work some issues with them. Otherwise they can refer to come to Lady Cilento and see an occupational therapist at the hospital and develop a plan.
So that's also available for regional and remote patients around the state as well as in metropolitan in Brisbane as well, and they can be referred in from anywhere in the state.
Laurelle Nelson Clinical Nurse Consultant Queensland Specialist Immunisation Service
Authorised by Queensland Government Brisbane.
Doing further research
If you are conducting research about vaccination, make sure the information sources you use are credible and backed by scientific research: