Mums’ Anxiety Around Immunisation

New research highlights Mums’ anxiety around immunisation.

The research, conducted on behalf of AstraZeneca, shows that 48% of mums worry about taking their child for routine immunisations, while a significant 43% believe immunisations affect the parents more than their child.

In recent research on attitudes towards immunisation, mums commented: “My two year old has just had it done and I’m going ‘you’re making my baby poorly, I don’t like it” while another added “They don’t realise until thirty seconds later … they look at you … what have you done.”

Younger mums are particularly susceptible to immunisation anxiety. Over half of younger mums worry about child immunisations, compared to just a third of mums aged over 45. Even more worryingly, 16% of younger mums have delayed vital immunisations due to concerns about pain, compared to just 6.7% of mums overall.

Dr Miriam Stoppard, commenting on the research, says “As a doctor I feel immunisation to be vital but as a mother and grandmother I understand the distress and anxiety mums can experience during the immunisation process. I am concerned that younger mums in particular seem to experience more anxiety around the health of their child and immunisations in particular, and call for more support and information to be made available to mums on ways to help deal with this potentially difficult situation.”

Miriam has the following top tips for mums taking their child for immunisation:

  1. Distract your child so they look the other way and aren’t concentrating on the needle. Try blowing bubbles or taking their favourite puppet or toy.
  2. Hold your child securely, and ask the nurse to approach from behind so they do not notice the needle
  3. Different treatment options are available to help cope with immunisations. For example, a numbing product can help minimise the pain of the injection.

For the 43% of mums who feel that immunisation affects them more than their child, Miriam has the following suggestions:

  1. Mums are always very busy, but it is important to allow yourself plenty of time for your appointment. This will help you feel less pressured and mean that you can take time to reassure your child and familiarise them with the surroundings.
  2. Talk to the nurse. They are used to seeing anxious mums before immunisations and will be happy to answer any queries. They would much rather you ask questions and feel calm as this can help to keep your child calm.
  3. Have a numbing product available for use before the injection as well as analgesics to help with any fever afterwards. Being prepared will help you feel more in control.