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About Sickkids
About SickKids

May 5, 2009

Simple change means less pain associated with vaccination

Since vaccine injections are the most common painful medical procedure for children, researchers at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) looked for ways to manage the discomfort of vaccinations and found that giving scheduled vaccinations in a particular order can help manage the discomfort. This result is easily incorporated into clinical practice -- good news for infants who might receive more than one innoculation during one visit to the doctor.

According to a study published in today's issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, babies who are given the DTaP-IPV-Hib injection (a combination vaccine for diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis, inactivated polio virus and Hemophilus influenza type b) before the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine seem to experience less pain than those who receive the vaccines in the opposite order.

Dr. Moshe Ipp, SickKids physician and Project Investigator, led the team which examined the responses of 120 healthy infants during routine immunization. The team assessed pain levels using a scale that measures facial expression, crying and body movements after vaccination. Parents also rated their child's pain levels on a scale of zero 0 to 10. According to co-author Dr. Anna Taddio, an Adjunct Scientist and Pharmacist at SickKids, a child's face changes as they experience pain. Their mouths open, their eyes close, they furrow their brow and then become agitated. The whole body begins to move as the child starts to cry.

The researchers suggest that the results may be the related pH levels, or acidity, of the vaccines; the combination vaccine is more neutral compared to the pneumococcal vaccine, which is more acidic.

For more information, please contact:

Matet Nebres
The Hospital for Sick Children
Phone: 416-813-6380
email: matet.nebres@sickkids.ca

Suzanne Gold
The Hospital for Sick Children
Phone: 416-813-7654 ext. 2059
email: suzanne.gold@sickkids.ca