Many people may find the experience of having a needle an unpleasant one. However for some people, the experience is much more difficult, presenting as a real phobia characterised by both severe and persistent anxiety and fear. As a result, this patient group often avoid needle-related experiences. This needle avoidance extends to the area of immunisation, resulting in the individual being left susceptible to vaccine-preventable diseases. This can result in further procedures involving needles should they become unwell.

Effective preparation, distraction techniques, pain management strategies and addressing the core reason for the phobia are all important steps in ensuring successful immunisation.

Below are some resources that can assist in the immunisation of needle phobic patients.

If immunisation attempts are unsuccessful you may consider referral to a specialist Immunisation clinic to discuss alternate options e.g. sedation.

Please contact SAEFVIC on 1300 882 924 (Option 1) for further discussion.


The Royal Children’s Hospital Clinical Practice Guidelines for Procedural Pain Management

The Royal Children’s Hospital Kids Health Info Fact Sheets: Sedation – Nitrous Oxide

The Royal Children’s Hospital comfort kids- for kids

The Royal Children’s Hospital comfort kids- for parents

The Royal Children’s Hospital Be Positive (B+) videos “Coming to Immunisation Clinic” and “Having some Nitrous Oxide”


Smart phone apps Smiling Mind and Okee


Reviewed by: Rachael McGuire (SAEFVIC Research Nurse), Georgina Lewis (SAEFVIC Clinical manager)
Date: February 2018
Materials in this section are updated as new information and vaccines become available. The Melbourne Vaccine Education Centre (MVEC) staff regularly reviews materials for accuracy.
You should not consider the information in this site to be specific, professional medical advice for your personal health or for your family’s personal health. For medical concerns, including decisions about vaccinations, medications and other treatments, you should always consult a healthcare professional.

Melbourne University

Welcome to MVEC

The Melbourne Vaccine Education Centre (MVEC) is a new web-based initiative, providing up-to-date immunisation information for healthcare professionals, parents and the public.

It is a collaboration between The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) and its Melbourne Children’s campus partners (Murdoch Children's Research Institute and The University of Melbourne) and Monash Health.

MVEC aims to address common queries around vaccines and to promote the benefits of immunisation for both children and adults.