Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals

WHO recommendations on reducing pain at the time of vaccination

In a new position paper published in today’s edition of the Weekly Epidemiological Record, WHO provides recommendations that can be taken to reduce pain and anxiety during vaccination which can be applied in all countries worldwide.

Pain during vaccination sessions is manageable and managing pain does not decrease the efficacy of the vaccine. There are general effective, feasible, non-costly, culturally acceptable, evidence-based strategies to mitigate pain at the time of vaccination such as:

  • Ensuring health-care personnel carrying out vaccination remain calm, collaborative, well informed and avoid using language that increases anxiety, and promotes distrust;
  • Ensuring proper positioning of the vaccine recipient according to age, for example infants and young children should be held by the caregiver and for older children and adults to be sitting upright;
  • When multiple vaccines are injected sequentially in the same session, they should be administered in order of increasing painfulness.

In addition to the above general strategies , several specific recommendations targeted at the different age groups were also identified such as breast-feeding for infants or distractions using breathing interventions for adults.

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