Te takatū mō tētahi toronga Preparing for a vaccination appointment

Some tips to help you prepare for an immunisation appointment.

How much time you need for an appointment

You need at least 30 to 45 minutes for the whole vaccination appointment. This includes 20 minutes of waiting time after the vaccination.

Allow a little longer if you are bringing more than 1 child, or other whānau, for immunisation.

What to bring

If you have a Well Child Tamariki Ora My Health Book, bring it to the appointment so the vaccinator can update the immunisation history. It's ok if you do not have this, immunisations are also recorded in the National Immunisation Register.

Choose clothes that can be removed or rolled up so the vaccinator can access your upper arm. Babies under 12 months have all their injections in the thigh. From 1 year, tamariki have their injections in the arm or thigh.

Bring any kai or drink you will need during this time. 

For children, you can bring their favourite toy, blanket, game, or book along as a distraction and to keep them busy afterwards. 

If you are nervous, bring a whānau member or friend for support. 

You do not need to bring ID to the appointment.

Changing an appointment

If you need to change your appointment time, call the vaccination site as soon as possible to let them know. This lets you make a new appointment time that works better for you. Your previous appointment can be given to someone else.

If you booked an appointment online, you change this through the booking system. You will need your booking reference. Group bookings cannot be changed online — you can only cancel them.

Manage your appointments  (external link)

If you are unwell on the day of the appointment

Contact the vaccination site you have booked with. They will be able to advise if the vaccination should still be given.

If you have COVID-19 you will need to reschedule.

If you need extra support

When you make an appointment, make sure you let the team know if you or your tamariki might need some extra help.

They may be able to:

  • provide a space away from other people
  • support you with other tamariki you bring to the appointment
  • arrange accessibility and mobility assistance
  • arrange for a home visit — this may be through another health service.

Chat to the disability team

We have a dedicated disability team you can call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

A person with disability experience or knowledge will answer your call from 8am to 8pm. After 8pm, calls are answered by a trained member of the Healthline team. 

You can ask them questions about:

  • accessibility at different vaccination sites
  • getting vaccinations safely
  • home vaccinations for you or your tamariki.

What happens during the appointment

Your vaccinator will talk to you about the immunisation and what to expect afterwards. There will be time to ask questions and you will be asked if you are happy to go ahead with the immunisation.

In some situations you might need to sign a piece of paper to show you agree to the immunisation.

You will be asked to wait up to 20 minutes after the vaccination to make sure you and your tamariki are feeling okay.

If you are scared of needles

Let the vaccinator know if you or your child is scared of needles. They are trained to make you as comfortable as possible. They can provide distractions and techniques to help reduce pain and anxiety.

Tips for pēpi and tamariki immunisations

  • Talking, cuddling, and holding your tamariki will help distract them from the injection and soothe them afterwards if they are upset. 
  • Try to stay calm. Babies and children can tell when their parents are feeling anxious.
  • Feeding your baby (including breast or bottle feeding) while they are being immunised may help them feel more comfortable.  

After the immunisation

You will be asked to wait up to 20 minutes after the vaccination to make sure you and your tamariki are feeling okay.

Some people experience mild reactions after immunisation. They may develop a fever or experience tenderness, swelling and redness where the injection was given. This is the body’s normal response to immunisation and shows the vaccine is working.  Symptoms usually settle after a day or 2.

If you do not experience any side effects that is okay too — the vaccine is still working.

If you are concerned about any reactions after their immunisation, contact your doctor or nurse. You can also call Healthline any time on 0800 611 116.

Vaccine side effects, reactions and safety

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