Vaccinators swap scrubs for superhero costumes
Staff at the Cavan Vaccination Center have thrown away their scrubs and replaced them with superhero costumes, in a bid to make the process less intimidating for children.
Staff at the centre, based at the Kilmore Hotel, came up with the idea after it was confirmed that children aged 5 to 11 could receive the vaccine.
“We are aware of our experience, that there is a nervousness. The parents have made the decision to have their child vaccinated but they do not know how it all works here”, explains Eddie Ward, operational manager of the vaccination center of Cavan.
The vaccination center is decorated with colorful balloons and the staff, including the vaccinators, are dressed in costumes ranging from Action Man to Snow White, Bananaman to Spiderman.
Children receive a certificate after receiving their vaccination congratulating them for their bravery and they can place a ribbon on the wishing tree. The tree created by local artist Heather Brett. Each time a child is vaccinated, he receives a ribbon which he ties to the tree.
“You can see the kids here aren’t scared. They might be a little anxious, but they know they’re somewhere where they’re going to be taken care of and taken care of,” he said. he declares.
“The more positive the experience, the more likely they are to come back for their second shot,” he explains.
“Some of the kids don’t want to go home after the 15-minute observation. I think that’s a good sign,” he said.
Uptake of vaccination in general has been lower in counties Cavan and Monaghan, compared to other parts of the country, despite HSE efforts to reach individuals and communities.
“What we’re trying to do here is break down the barriers around vaccination and improve access,” says Cara O’Neill, health and wellness manager for the region.
“Here today we try to make it a fun experience, but we’ve also reached more marginalized groups, we’ve had tailor-made clinics in direct delivery centres,” she said.
“We’ve had pop-up vaccination clinics where attendance has been low. We’ve been to places like Ballyjamesduff and Carrickmacross and that will continue,” she added.
“Although the restrictions may ease, we don’t want people to forget the importance of vaccination and it remains our greatest weapon,” she said.