Fatima Tokhmafshan

Fatima Tokhmafshan

Member of CoVaRR-Net (Community and Patient Engagement and Outreach Director)

Some tips for parents on managing children’s vaccination-related pain and anxiety:

  • Explore what your child understands about vaccines and help them see why it’s important to receive it.
  • It’s important that as a parent you remain calm, since children can pick up on a parent’s anxiety.
  • Plan an activity or a treat after the vaccination to help make that the focal point of the day, rather than the vaccination.
  • During the vaccination, you or the vaccine centre staff can help distract your child with songs or toys. If you have a tablet, they can watch a show or, with all the new stimuli, you can play I Spy.
  • If your child actually prefers to look at themselves getting a needle, this a great opportunity for a science lesson.
  • Prior to the jab, if you can afford it, you can purchase and apply topical numbing creams to help reduce the injection pain (n.b. Different creams require different amounts of time to start working).
  • Any pain the child is experiencing should be acknowledged. They should also be commended for their bravery and told how their action will help protect other kids who might not be able to get vaccinated.
  • Pre-empting possible side effects by taking pain relief medication is not recommended. Studies show that sometimes these medications can interfere with the vaccine’s function. It is recommended that you administer medication only after symptoms have emerged.
  • For further information, parents can find a list of common side effects from vaccines put out by Health Canada.

Download a document showing the booster dose recommendations for provinces and territories in Canada as of November 11, 2021.

To arrange an interview with Dr. Tokhmafshan, please contact:
Philip Fine