Preparing for a positive experience

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Many adults feel a bit nervous about immunization appointments. Here are some things you can do before, during, and after the immunization appointment that can help make immunizations easier and less stressful.

Preparing for your immunization appointment 

Before your appointment

  • Locate your immunization records so that you can bring them with you to your appointment. Click here for tips on locating immunization records.
  • Read about the vaccines you will be given beforehand in the vaccine HealthLinkBC File

During your appointment

  • Your health care provider will give you information on the different vaccines you will receive, including information on the benefits and risks of the vaccines and how to manage common reactions.
  • Be sure to ask your health care provider any questions you have.
  • Tell your health care provider if you have any allergies or if you have ever had a reaction to a vaccine.
  • Tell your health care provider if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant.
  • Use the tips discussed below for a more positive immunization experience.
  • Be sure that any vaccines you receive are recorded in your immunization record.

After your appointment

  • It’s important to stay at the clinic for 15 minutes after getting any vaccine because there is an extremely rare possibility of a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. The chance of this occurring is between one in 100,000 and one in a million. Should this reaction occur, your health care provider is prepared to treat it. 
  • It is important to always report serious or unexpected reactions (called adverse events following immunization) to your health care provider. Learn more about adverse events here.

Tips for a more positive immunization experience

Pain or fear associated with vaccinations can cause stress and anxiety for many adults, causing some to delay or avoid them all together. Below are some tips you can use to help reduce the stress, anxiety, and discomfort associated with immunizations.

  • Sit upright, unless you have a history of fainting (if this is the case, let your health care provider know). This will help to promote a sense of control.
  • Take deep breaths. Breathe in, so your belly expands, then exhale slowly. This will help to calm you.
  • Relax your arm. It may help to dangle your arm beside you to ensure your muscle is relaxed.
  • Distract yourself to take your attention away from the injection. Listening to music, watching videos, reading, or talking to your health care provider or someone else can all help to distract you.
  • You can buy topical anesthetics that can help reduce immunization pain at a pharmacy without a prescription. These will need to be applied before your appointment. Talk to your health care provider or pharmacist for more information. 
Date last reviewed: 
Tuesday, Mar 24, 2020