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10 yo refusing flu vax


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#1 NastyGal

Posted 17 June 2019 - 07:14 PM

Myself, DD12 and DD10 went for flu vaccinations this afternoon. We were all together in the treatment room - I went first, followed by DD12, it was super easy and quick and neither of us so much as flinched. Then it was DD10's turn. She was happy to have the needle up until that point...and then she flat out refused. She did have a blood test a few weeks ago which was painful for her - I'm sure this played a part in her refusal.

I spent about 5 minutes trying to talk her into it, even tried bribery etc but no go.

Just wondering if anyone has any tips / suggestions for ways to convince her to have the needle. The idea of holding her down for it is something I'm not comfortable with at all - it seems a total breach of trust, and I've spent the last 10 years drumming into her that she has bodily autonomy. I've told her I can make another appointment, that I really want her to have the vax, and to have a good think about it...but I doubt that'll make much difference!

Am open to all ideas (other than physical force).

#2 Babetty

Posted 17 June 2019 - 07:25 PM

My first thoughts were is she aware of just how dangerous the flu is, the death rate so far this season, and how horrible it is to have? But that might just make her feel guilted and forced into it.

Alternatively, you could ask her what she would need to feel comfortable getting it, what her concerns are, and why she is reluctant.

Edited by Babetty, 17 June 2019 - 07:26 PM.


#3 nom_de_plume

Posted 17 June 2019 - 07:27 PM

I bribed the kids and made them go first in case they changed their mind. We all went together but I got 5yo DD done first (most likely to be an issue, she sat on DP lap with her favourite toy and we distracted her), then the two boys (10 and 11, both too concerned with keeping up appearances that one wouldn’t chicken out in front of the other), then DP and I.

DD requested ice cream and pasta for dinner (easy done), and the boys both wanted toys which we picked up from Big W on the way home.

#4 tenar

Posted 17 June 2019 - 07:29 PM

I use sweets as bribery, usually a chupp chup.  Would sucking a sweet distract her in the moment while the needle goes in?

Edited by tenar, 17 June 2019 - 07:29 PM.


#5 Future-self

Posted 17 June 2019 - 07:39 PM

I agree that at that age, physical force wouldn’t be ok with me either. At 10 I would be scaring her a bit with the reality of  why we do it.
There was a news story or kidspot article lately with photos of a 7 year old with flu in hospital very very sick . Show it to her. Or let her read the latest article about the 31 people who have died in Victoria alone this flu season.

So show her why it’s important and why you are insisting on her being done. And then as PP said, find out her fear and strategise ways to get through it. Listening to music and closing eyes, eating chocolate at the same time, whatever.

#6 Jenflea

Posted 17 June 2019 - 07:40 PM

A friend of mine had to bear hug her 8 yr old while the nurse did the needle recently.

And another friend had to bear hug the top half of her kid while her oldest kid held the feet of his sister (who was kicking at the nurse) while the nurse jabbed her as fast as she could.

I told 9 yr old dd about how many people have died from it and she was in the toilet in a shopping centre with me when we heard 3 kids in Victoria had died, 4, 8 and 12 or similar ages and I said that's why we get the vaccination. She went first and was fine.

I also think, body autonomy is fine in the majority of cases but for medical things sometimes we don't get a choice, and until she's old enough to refuse it at about 16 or so, she has to get it done. You're doing it for the best reasons, so she doesn't die of the flu. Yes it's nice to have a choice but sometimes our parents have to choose for us.

#7 knottygirl

Posted 17 June 2019 - 07:41 PM

Show her a picture of someone in hospital with the flu and point how how many needles they have in them.  That’s what I tell my needle phobe.

#8 NastyGal

Posted 17 June 2019 - 07:41 PM

Babetty, a news item came on the car radio literally as I pulled into the clinic car park saying the rate of flu infections this year was nine-fold (I explained the concept to them) and that over 30 people had died in Victoria already this year.  I joked about how we'd better run rather than walk in for our vaccinations...which she agreed with, and then piked!  I think generally her concerns are just she hates needles and will do anything to avoid them. We're going in a plane in under a fortnight and I talked in gruesome detail about the realities of recycled air in winter - made no impact at all.

Nom-de-plume and Tenar, I thought by having myself and DD12 go first she'd see how easy and painless it was - maybe I misjudged it. I'd promised them both McDonalds for dinner (next door and a rare treat) but that didn't help. I even tried to bribe her with money - nope. The nurse offered her two lollipops instead of one, and she could have one while she had the needle - nope.

I guess I just really, really don't want her to have a needle phobia, and I think if she just realised how painless it was then she'd be fine...it's just getting her to have that first needle!

#9 .Jerry.

Posted 17 June 2019 - 07:45 PM

Personally, whilst I would tell her the dangers of flu and maybe give her something to read about it, I wouldn't use total scare tactics.  It is possible that could lead to further health fears and anxieties as a vulnerable age.

I would state that it is expected in the family, as a family decision re health.
I would then give some support around anxiety of the needle itself.
I would also give a reward (as opposed to bribe ;) ).  

I would give her a few days to mull over it.

#10 Mrs Claus

Posted 17 June 2019 - 07:47 PM

View PostNastyGal, on 17 June 2019 - 07:41 PM, said:

Babetty, a news item came on the car radio literally as I pulled into the clinic car park saying the rate of flu infections this year was nine-fold (I explained the concept to them) and that over 30 people had died in Victoria already this year.  I joked about how we'd better run rather than walk in for our vaccinations...which she agreed with, and then piked!  I think generally her concerns are just she hates needles and will do anything to avoid them. We're going in a plane in under a fortnight and I talked in gruesome detail about the realities of recycled air in winter - made no impact at all.

Nom-de-plume and Tenar, I thought by having myself and DD12 go first she'd see how easy and painless it was - maybe I misjudged it. I'd promised them both McDonalds for dinner (next door and a rare treat) but that didn't help. I even tried to bribe her with money - nope. The nurse offered her two lollipops instead of one, and she could have one while she had the needle - nope.

I guess I just really, really don't want her to have a needle phobia, and I think if she just realised how painless it was then she'd be fine...it's just getting her to have that first needle!

Can you tell her she needs to have it or can’t go to wherever the plane is going? (Not as a punishment- say it’s the law) give her a few days to think about and she might decide it’s worth it for the trip

#11 Babetty

Posted 17 June 2019 - 07:54 PM

Since she agrees with the reason for the vaccination and it's needle phobia that is stopping her, can you strategize an approach where she agrees to you "forcing" her in the moment? Eg that you have her permission to stop her from piking, that you will hold her in a bear hug while the nurse does a quick jab?

#12 JoanJett

Posted 17 June 2019 - 07:54 PM

There's a fine line between parental authority and your child's bodily autonomy. You want her to be able to assert her bodily autonomy in other risky situations, so there's no way you should subvert that now.  She needs to be able to say "no" to other uncomfortable situations in the future.

I would approach it as a situation of education.  Explain what the flu is, how it affects people individually and as a community.  Explain how it could benefit her as an individual but also help people in her community.  Talk about the fact that the injection hurts - acknowledge it, it does hurt!  But also talk about how that small moment of hurt can protect her and many other people from much more serious health problems.  

Our kids are rational sentinent beings.  We need to bring them along, rather than force them. It actually helps with attitudes to vaccination in the long term.

#13 FuzzyChocolateToes

Posted 17 June 2019 - 07:57 PM

Offer her Emla local anaesthetic. Plus a big cash prize! I recently had to do both for my 14yo. The Emla meant he barely felt the needle.

#14 ERipley

Posted 17 June 2019 - 07:59 PM

Would it help her to understand that by getting the vaccination she’s also helping to stop the spread of the virus and protecting vulnerable people? Maybe if she views it as her civic duty she will be more inclined?

Although she knows the flu is killing people, does she really know how truly horrible it is to have? Maybe knowing how people are bed-ridden and in pain for weeks would help compare with the pain of a tiny needle prick.

Since this year is more scary because of the recent blood test, is it possible to stretch to a bigger reward for bravery? Something she desperately wants?

If she truly has a needle phobia a psychologist would be the next step, but if that were the case I doubt she would have gotten as far as she did.

#15 justbreath

Posted 17 June 2019 - 08:04 PM

It’s tricky but for me, body autonomy for my 8.5 year old was outweighed by the very real risk of the flu. I tried all the rationalising (he was actually hospitalised with severe complications 2 years ago from the flu) but his anxiety still won. I had to hold him. He was very angry. It’s been 2 days and he has moved on. I would prefer him mad at me than dead from the flu. At 8/9/10/11 etc they don’t get to choose.

#16 spr_maiden

Posted 17 June 2019 - 08:27 PM

Emla cream patches, and bribery.

Last year was horrible for my needle phobic child, and myself.  After 3 attempts at taking him to get it done, and twice both of us leaving in tears, in the end DH took him, had to hold him while he kicked (which DH hated) while the nurse jabbed him quickly. He had an emla patch on so realised it didn't hurt and stopped immediately apparently.  We insisted on the flu jab as there was an immuno-compromised child in our community, so for me, that makes it a non-negotiable.

Though it felt awful to force him last year, the action of getting it done with a patch made it so much easier this year.  He still freaked out a little, but I had to remind him several times that he can't feel it due to the emla patch.  Funnily enough, he also insists that DH holds him tightly for the flu jab, and for a couple of blood tests that he has had to have since last year.


Oh, and I completely bribe them with giant baskin and robbins ice creams, and maccas fries.  Their rewards for being brave lol.

#17 WTFJerk

Posted 17 June 2019 - 08:33 PM

Ice brick on the arm to numb the area and distract

#18 Prancer is coming

Posted 17 June 2019 - 08:57 PM

I have a 12y that hates needles.  I do what is on the vaccination schedule, managed to get one meningococcal needle into her, but leave the rest.  She has a disease too and needs the odd blood test and it can be a painful process and she does not always think rational when it comes to needles.

#19 Charli73

Posted 17 June 2019 - 09:02 PM

We use Emla patches here too and huge bribes for my 6 and 8yo..

#20 Avocado tree

Posted 17 June 2019 - 09:17 PM

Yep, Emla patches or cream.  We had similar drama with our 8 year old, wasn’t sure we would be getting him done.  Emla cream does give some  psychological help.

#21 Octopodes

Posted 17 June 2019 - 09:28 PM

At 10yo, it would be my child's choice to have a non-compulsory vaccination or not. Their body, their choice.

I would however make sure they were aware of the importance of the shot and the ramifications of not having it. I wouldn't try to trick them into it or force them to have it.

#22 Ivy Ivy

Posted 17 June 2019 - 09:28 PM

Yes I just used over the counter Emla local anaesthetic patches ($10 each!) for blood tests for my 9 year old, and she didn't feel the needle at all.  Her GP said we should've used Emla for the flu shot a month ago (9yo got really worked up/frantic about it).
I didn't know this, but if the child is <9yo and it's their 1st flu shot, they need to have 2 injections 1 month apart - my poor 6 year old just had to have his 2nd.
I'd:
Say no choice you're having the shot.
Leave the Emla on for an hour before the injection.
Then a big present/treat after the injection.

#23 lozoodle

Posted 17 June 2019 - 09:36 PM

I told my 10 year old if she ended up getting the flu she'd likely have a whole lot more needles in her than just one little jab.

#24 *Nasty*Squeekums*

Posted 17 June 2019 - 09:44 PM

Your right not to use force.
I was restrained as a 10 yr old. I broke my arm free and broke the Drs nose. It added to my phobia.
I've had phobia after a bad needle at 7, mistreatment from a Dr.
It so bad I couldn't even have blood taken in pregnancy.

If it's a true phobia there is no bribe or amount of talking her round that will work, trust me.
You will need proper help to get her through it.
Don't do what my parents did, threaten me, punish me. Just made it worse, added to the phobia

I'm team give her the info, even a you tube video of a person with the flu, try again with no expectations, no you are, you must, you will and if she freaks out again, seek outside help. Its not worth pushing it and making it worse.

#25 Meepy

Posted 17 June 2019 - 11:10 PM

My kids hate needles but they hated the taste of tamiflu more when they got the flu two years ago. They also hated having the flu too. Tell her how horrid the medication is.




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