It’s ironic that, when parents are at their most sleep-deprived, we are given the task of making sure our children get their vaccinations on time and to schedule. Throw into that mix a move to a different country and it’s no wonder that some of us struggle to keep up! Here are some tips on the topic.
Preparing your child
Babies under a year old tend to be blissfully unaware of what they face when visiting the doctor’s surgery for immunisations. But for children aged around 15 months and up, there are some ways to soothe their potential distress:
Stay calm: Your child will feed off your behaviour; if you’re a bag of nerves then your child will be too!
Distract: Squeeze their hand, sing a song, talk about what you’re going to do after your visit to the surgery.
Reward: The level of reward is up to you, but the promise of a visit to the park or a lollipop or sticker may be all that’s needed.
Don’t punish: Never use having a jab as a punishment (e.g., “Sit still or they’ll give you an injection”). This will colour their future view of any vaccinations and make things harder!
Control: Let an older child decide which arm to have the shot in and whether they want it on the count of three or five.
It’s easy to lose track of which jabs our children may need, but a clinic’s own record, and your child’s personal health record, can keep you organised. And don’t panic if your child misses a vaccination (not right away, at least) – just be sure to arrange a suitable catch-up schedule with your doctor.
The topic of whether to vaccinate or not rolls on, but within the medical profession there is generally little argument: if a vaccine is mandatory, there shouldn’t be any objections. Having said that, the fact that kids born in Hong Kong have to be vaccinated against TB at birth is a point that generates plenty of heated discussion on internet forums.
It’s worth noting, by the way, that if you want jabs that aren’t on the public register, you can pay to have them done in a private clinic – helpful if, for instance, you follow the Australian immunisation schedule.
For the full schedule of vaccinations for children, see fhs.gov.hk
This article first appeared in Expat Living‘s 2016/17 City Guide. Subscribe so you don’t miss an issue!
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