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FAQ – Immunizations

Is it going to hurt?

  • Be honest. Let your child know that there may be the feeling of a pinch or pressure where the needle went in. Remind your child that vaccination only takes a few seconds.

How can I help ease my child’s anxiety?

  • Distraction is a helpful way to cope with fear and anxiety of needles. Listening to music or playing a game is a great distraction. Refrain from joking about needles (i.e., don’t tell your child they will need an “extra big” needle). Keep calm when discussing immunizations with your child. Children can get anxious knowing that their parent/guardian is worried.

How to prepare on the day of vaccination?

  • Wear a short sleeved shirt or have one available to change into. Have your child eat breakfast and have snacks available at school.

Can my child get these vaccines at their doctor’s office?

  • Most doctors do not offer these vaccines as they are often not stocked and require a special ordering process. It is often easiest to have your child get the vaccines in school as this does not require parents/guardians to take time out of their day.

What should I do if my child is afraid of needles?

  • It is normal to be anxious before having a needle. This is often the first “medical procedure” a student has without parents in the room. Public health nurses often see this and are well experienced in helping children through this process. If a child is very anxious, it may be better to book an appointment with the Peterborough Public Health immunization clinic. This would allow you to be there to support your child. Some evening appointments are available throughout the school year.

Do I get a record of these immunizations?

  • A record of Immunization will be sent home with your child after every needle given. Please report the immunization(s) to your family doctor and record them in your child’s yellow immunization card.

Are these vaccines safe?

  • Yes, vaccines are tested for many years before they are approved for use in Canada.

When will my child get these vaccines?

  • Peterborough Public Health will visit your child’s school 3 times during the school year. In the fall, the first HPV and HB vaccines are given. During the winter visit Menactra® is offered. Lastly, during the spring the second doses of HPV and HB are administered. Please note, school clinic dates can change. Please refer to our school based vaccine schedule located on our website.

Missed a clinic day at school?

  • You can book an appointment for your child at our immunization clinic located at Peterborough Public Health or your child can receive the immunization the next time the nurses are at the school.

Already had some of the vaccines?

  • If your child has received some, or all of the vaccines in the past, please provide Peterborough Public Health with a record. This can be done by phone, fax, or by dropping off a paper copy at the 3rd floor reception.

Should I worry about side effects?

  • Many children have no side effects after getting vaccinated. Common side effects include redness, swelling and mild pain where the needle went in. Other side effects might include a headache, feeling tired, fever, loss of appetite, and diarrhea.

What should I do if my child has side effects?

  • If your child is unwell after arriving home use a cold compress on the area where the needle was given to reduce swelling and discomfort. If your child has a fever or pain, give acetaminophen (eg. Tylenol®) or Ibuprophen (eg. Advil®) according to directions on the bottle. If your child has a fever, make sure your child drinks lots of fluids. If you have any concerns about your child’s possible reaction, please call your healthcare provider and/or Peterborough Public Health.

What does an allergic reaction look like?

  • Allergic reactions like a blotchy raised rash (hives), wheezing, or swelling of the face and/or mouth are extremely rare. If you notice any of these symptoms, please seek medical attention immediately. Nurses at Peterborough Public Health are trained to treat allergic reactions and will observe students for 15 minutes after vaccination.

Who should not get the vaccine?

  • Anyone with allergies to vaccine ingredients (see School-Based Vaccines Information Sheet).