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Have a positive experience

Immunization can cause pain, stress, and anxiety for many adults - this can cause some adults to delay getting immunized or avoid vaccines altogether. Fortunately, there are strategies that can be used before and during the appointment to make the immunization experience easier. Use the tips below for a more positive immunization experience. 
A Brown woman wearing a yellow mask is receiving a band aid after getting a vaccine.

Sit upright

Sitting upright helps to promote a sense of control and is associated with reduced pain during immunization. If you have a history of fainting, tell your health care provider. 

A Black woman with her eyes closed meditating.

Take deep breaths

Take slow deep breaths into your belly, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. This can help calm you and can also serve as a distraction. 
A white woman wearing a mask is receiving a band aid from a nurse.

Relax your arm

It may help to dangle your arm beside you to ensure your muscle is relaxed.

A white man wearing a hat and headphones, looking at his phone.

Distract yourself

Use distraction to take your attention away from the immunization. Listening to music, watching videos, reading, or talking to your health care provider or someone else can all help to distract you. 

A shoulder with a band aid on it.

Consider using numbing cream or patches

You can buy topical anesthetics to help reduce immunization pain at a pharmacy without a prescription. These will need to be applied before your appointment. Ask your health care provider or read this handout for specific information on numbing creams and patches.

Preview of the CARD system handout.

Use the CARD system

Nervous about getting needles? You can use the CARD (Comfort, Ask, Relax, Distract) system for a more positive immunization experience. Learn about the CARD System in this handout.


Watch these short videos on how to use the CARD system if:
  • Vaccinations make you feel uncomfortable.
  • You have vaccination questions.
  • Vaccinations make you feel stressed.
  • Vaccinations make you nervous.