So, you've spoken to your parents and decided you need to be immunised. You know why vaccines are important and how they protect you, but you're a bit nervous about what happens on the day at school when the nurses come. Getting vaccinated is not a big deal once you know what's involved.

  1. Arm yourself with the facts. Okay, it's true. Getting a jab can hurt a little, but a moment of pain can give you a lifetime of protection. HPV, diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough are some of the diseases that immunisation can protect you from. Read about these diseases and put it all into perspective. 
  2. Return the consent card. Get your parents to complete the immunisation consent card and take it back to school as soon as you can – you can't be immunised at school without it.
  3. Have a good breakfast. To avoid feeling dizzy or dehydrated, make sure you have had breakfast and have extra snacks on the day of your vaccination.
  4. Wear something that you can pull up or down your arm easily. The needle goes into the top of your non-writing arm and only pierces the skin – it never goes anywhere near your bones!
  5. Don't carry heavy stuff around. If you can, leave your school bag and books somewhere safe when you go to get your vaccination and try to avoid carrying heavy things for a few hours afterwards. It can make your arm hurt more.
  6. Talk to someone if you have questions or feel nervous. You can speak to the nurses giving the vaccination, or your teacher. Waiting can sometimes make you more nervous. You could ask to go first, or you can watch a friend go through first just to reassure yourself that they survive!
  7. Tell the nurse if you feel sick. It's better not to be vaccinated when you have a temperature over 38.5 ºC. The nurse will ask you how you’re feeling. If you have a high temperature on the day of school vaccinations, let the nurse know. You can get it done at the doctor when you're better.
  8. Think about something else. Try wiggling your toes while the needle goes in. This gives you something else to focus on. Tightening your muscles or clenching your fist because you're tense can make it seem to hurt more.
  9. Wait for 15 minutes after the jab. It's really rare for people to have a bad reaction to a vaccine, but the rule is to hang around just in case. If you don't feel right, tell someone so they can look after you.
  10. A little bump or soreness is normal. Sometimes after a jab, your arm will hurt, look red, or have a small bump where the needle went in. This is normal and should go away in three or four days, but if you're worried, show your parent or guardian and they can have a doctor check it out.

Watch ‘The jab’ video to see how other students feel about getting immunised.

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This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by: Department of Health and Human Services - RHP&R - Health Protection - Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Unit

Last updated: December 2019

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