Giving Needles

With young children we find that they are often taught that needles will hurt. When we see families we first explain what needles we are recommending and their cost. We then usually immunize the youngest children first and adults last. We try to make the actual giving of the needle quick and relatively painless. We remind parents that modern vaccine needles are actually smaller and sharper than the ones they remember from their childhood. Also with preloaded immunization needles there is no longer a need to withdraw the plunger. This means less manipulation of the needle in the muscle and less pain.

We also tell our clients to relax their muscle tone. Having a well relaxed arm makes for a less painful injection.

The shoulder (deltoid muscle) is the preferred site for intramuscular injections or the thigh muscle in small children. (The buttocks or gluteal muscles are no longer used for any immunization injections since it was discovered that this gave unreliable immunization coverage because of the higher fat content in this muscle group)

After the injection is given we ask our clients to put firm pressure at the site. Local pressure will decrease capillary bleeding in the muscle and will prevent bruising and muscle stiffness later.

We ask our patients to stay in our clinic for 15 minutes after their immunization. This is strongly recommended for yellow fever immunizations in articular. When Japanese encephalitis vaccine is given it is recommended to stay in the clinic for 30 minutes.

After the needles

While waiting in the clinic, we would still like our patients to continue to learn. Our intention is not to just dispense immunizations without counselling. In the time that patients are to wait in our clinic we wish to use this time for good purpose.

Young children are often upset by their needle experience. By staying in the clinic, surrounded by images of travel and in a non-threatening position we wish these children to leave our clinic happy and not traumatized by a bad needle experience.

Vaccine Safety

After the immunization we inform our patients that they may experience mild aches and a slight fever for 1-2 days. We have an open policy that anyone who believes they have a vaccine allergy or reaction to contact us immediately. Although we believe that true adverse effects are highly unlikely we want to address all concerns as soon as possible. The only way to determine this may be to see each client in person. Although we have to charge clients for immunization visits any visit for a medical concern is covered by Manitoba Health so we urge clients to contact us without reservation. Our medical and nursing staff easily addresses vaccine allergies or infections following an injection.