Fainting in connection with vaccinations

In any vaccinations, the vaccine recipient may
  • have an absence-type seizure
  • have vasovagal symptoms
  • faint.

Especially young people in puberty and young adults may feel nervous about the injection and have a comprehensive reaction to the vaccination.

Fainting can involve jerky convulsion-type tonic or clonic movements, which are usually harmless and quick to disappear. They should not be mistaken for epilepsy.

Fainting can occur immediately after vaccination or only later when the person is no longer feeling nervous. A person who is deeply afraid of injections may faint even before the vaccine has been injected. 

Ask whether the vaccine recipient is afraid in advance

Before vaccination, it is a good idea to ask whether the person coming in for a vaccine has passed out before, for example, when a blood sample has been taken. This allows the vaccine recipient to tell you about a possible fear of injections in advance. If necessary, it is advisable to allow the person to lie down for the vaccine. This enables avoiding any bumps related to fainting. 

Observe the vaccine recipient’s condition for at least 15–20 minutes after vaccination for fainting and anaphylaxis.

You should not confuse the symptoms of fainting or vasovagal symptoms with anaphylaxis.

Treating a person who has fainted

Lay the vaccine recipient down with his/her legs in a raised position. Wait until the person is feeling better.

Follow-up vaccinations

Further examinations are not necessary if the vaccine recipient has no neurological symptoms after recovering consciousness.

The follow-up vaccinations can be given as normal. During the follow-ups, ask the vaccine recipient to lie down if he/she still feels squeamish about injections.