Preparing for an appointment

Some tips to help you prepare for a vaccination appointment.

How much time you’ll need for the appointment 

You’ll 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’re 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 along to the appointment so the vaccinator can update the immunisation history. Do not worry 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’ll 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’re nervous, bring a whānau member or friend for support. 

You do not need to bring ID to the appointment.

Changing an appointment

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

If you booked a flu or COVID-19 vaccine online through Book My Vaccine you change this booking online. You’ll need your booking reference. Group bookings cannot be changed online – you can only cancel them.

Change a booking made through Book My Vaccine

If you’re 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, or when you arrive, make sure you let the team know if you or your tamariki might need some extra help.

They may be able to help by:

  • providing a space away from other people
  • supporting you with other tamariki you bring to the appointment
  • accessibility arrangements and mobility assistance
  • arranging for a home visit (this may be through another health service).

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’re 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’ll be asked to wait up to 20 minutes after the vaccination to make sure you and your tamariki are feeling OK.

If you’re scared of needles

Let the vaccinator know if you or your child is scared of needles. They’re 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’re 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’re being immunised may help them feel more comfortable.  

After the immunisation 

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

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’s OK too, the vaccine is still working.

If you’re 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

Page last updated: 16 Jun 2023