Supporting Children & Young People Having The COVID-19 Vaccine

Supporting Children & Young People Having The COVID-19 Vaccine

Check some tips and resources for supporting tamariki (children) and rangatahi (young people)  through the COVID-19 immunisation process. This includes resources for supporting those with disabilities.

Cyrus | Ministry of Health NZ

Cyrus was nervous to get his COVID-19 Pfizer vaccination, but with support from Larisa the nurse administering his vaccination, he's now looking forward to living life fully vaccinated. Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect you, your friends and your whānau. Ministry of Health video. Transcript.


What can I do before my child's COVID-19 vaccine appointment?

  • give your child encouragement and keep them relaxed
  • make sure your child has had something to eat and drink
  • check your child is wearing clothes that make it easy to see and access their upper arm

If they're a little nervous, they're welcome to take something to the appointment that will distract them, like a phone or some music.

How can I talk to my child about having the COVID-19 vaccine?

In the video below, paediatrician Dr Teuila Percival says it's best to be open and transparent with tamariki about the COVID-19 vaccination. Explain to your child why they're having a vaccine and what to expect.

In the following video, registered psychologist Paul Prangley gives advice on how parents and caregivers can talk to their tamariki about being immunised against COVID-19.

Some resources about helping prepare for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment

Tips to prepare for your COVID-19 vaccine appointment | The Immunisation Advisory Centre

Making it better: Helpful tips for managing immunisations | Hospital Play Specialist Association

The following one page handout on immunisation support may have helpful suggestions for parents and whānau of older tamariki. 

Screenshot of Hospital Play Specialist handout

Supporting tamariki with a disability have their COVID-19 vaccine

Preparing for the COVID-19 vaccine | Explore specialist advice, HealthCare NZ

Many people, including those with intellectual disabilities and those on the autism spectrum may show signs of anxiety when it comes to injections and needles. Check a resource to help you support your child or young person with autism or another disability through the immunisation process.

COVID-19 vaccination social scripts | Amaze, Australia

Amaze Australia, in partnership with National Disability Services, have developed social scripts that outline the process of getting a COVID-19 vaccination to people with autism.

People with autism may find the process of getting the vaccination stressful. These social scripts provide them with an opportunity to prepare themselves for their vaccination and reduce anxiety.

While the social scripts have been developed for people with autism, anyone who is feeling anxious about the process of getting a COVID-19 vaccination can use and benefit from the resources.

Australians with Down syndrome say why they got the COVID-19 vaccine

Down Syndrome Australia recently asked Australians with Down syndrome why they got the COVID-19 vaccine, and why they think everyone else should too.

What if I need help during my child's COVID-19 vaccine appointment?

    If you book through Book My Vaccine, you can request assistance during your appointment.

    This can include:

    • an NZSL interpreter
    • support to make decisions
    • assistance to move around
    • a longer appointment time
    • a quiet or low-sensory environment
    • more space to move around

    The disability team is available Monday to Friday, from 8am to 8pm. They will support your whānau and can book an immunisation appointment for you. They can answer any questions you may have about your child's needs including accessibility, free transport options, or any affects the vaccine may have on your child.

      See a list of accessible sites near you.

      You can also go with your child to a walk-in appointment.

      This page last reviewed 19 December 2023.

      Call Healthline on 0800 611 116 any time of the day or night for free health advice when you need it