Children in secondary school can get protection from some diseases through free vaccinations. Some young people get really worked up about getting a needle, but there are simple ways you can help them through it.

1. Arm yourself with the facts. There’s a lot of misinformation out there about vaccinations. It’s important to find out what you need to know from a reliable source, so you can answer any questions that you or your child may have. Government websites are a reliable source of information.

2. Talk about immunisation. Having a conversation can be the easiest way to put your child at ease about vaccinations. There’s no point pretending that needles don’t hurt a little bit – they do. But talking about the diseases and explaining that a moment of pain can give you a lifetime of protection, can really put things into perspective.

3. Keep an eye out for the consent card. Your child’s school may advertise the dates of the council’s visits in their newsletters and on their websites. If you would like to know when immunisation sessions are coming up, you can contact your local council at any time.

4. Read and return the consent card. It has information that can guide you in your discussion with your child. You should return the completed consent card even if you do not want your child to be immunised. This helps health authorities to assess the total number of young people immunised within the community.

5. Make sure they’re well on the day. It’s not recommended for anyone to receive a vaccination when they have a temperature of over 38.5 ºC. The nurse will go through a checklist with them on the day to make sure it is okay for them to be vaccinated.

6. Make sure they don’t miss out on the free vaccination. Make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible if your child misses a school vaccination – that way the vaccine will still be free and they still get any future necessary doses at school.

7. Give them a good breakfast. This will help them to avoid feeling dizzy or dehydrated on the day of vaccination. Having extra snacks on hand can help too.

8. Make sure they wear something that is easy to pull up or down their arm. The needle goes into the top of their non-writing arm and only pierces the skin – it never goes anywhere near bones, which is what a lot of young people worry about.

9. Prepare them for the needle. Lots of young people feel really nervous and then wonder why they were so worked up afterwards when it turns out to be no big deal. Let them know it’s okay to feel worried and there’s plenty they can do about it. Show them Ten tips for secondary school students to deal with immunisation.

10. Prepare them for a little bump or soreness afterwards. Sometimes after a needle their 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, have a doctor check it out.

’The jab’ video – watch 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: July 2014

Content on this website is provided for education and information purposes only. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or other registered health professional. Content has been prepared for Victorian residents and wider Australian audiences, and was accurate at the time of publication. Readers should note that, over time, currency and completeness of the information may change. All users are urged to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.