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Vaccinations at one of the mega sites (NJ) with special needs son, vaccine anxiety (mine).


dsmith
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Dh and my son have appointments for tomorrow. I'm so nervous - my son is on the spectrum and I've heard they don't allow people in to accompany recipients. Dh is scheduled 15 minutes from my son's time, so I'm hopeful they will let them stick together. I have his neurologist faxing a letter stating he needs to be accompanied by his father at all times- I really hope they will honor it. Ds has made a lot of progress over the years but he hasn't been out of the house during coronavirus and has a lot of fear about catching the virus. His grandfather died from coronavirus, so this is a very real fear for him. He also has a ton of general and social anxiety and doesn't do well on his own out in the public, even at 22 years old. It is very possible that he could completely melt down if separated. I'd appreciate any good thoughts/prayers!! I may have a panic attack waiting for them in the car! I'm expecting an appointment within the next week and I'm a nervous wreck about that. I still have trouble with masking and getting out of breath, but I've been practicing a lot and I've been doing better, so I think it's going to be a matter of not letting my anxiety get out of control. I'm one of those people that worry about side effects, allergic reactions, etc. I plan on taking Xanax when it's my turn, and my son will probably do the same. I'll be thankful when all of this is a distant memory because my anxiety throughout this whole pandemic has been so high. At least there seems to be an end in sight soon.🤞 Just writing this out has helped with my worries, so thanks for 'listening'!

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Which mega site? There is a Facebook group that can give you info on the process there. NJ COVID Vaccine Info. I got mine at Shop Rite so I can’t help but maybe someone has been to the one where you are going and can ease your mind on the process. 

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10 minutes ago, kristin0713 said:

Which mega site? There is a Facebook group that can give you info on the process there. NJ COVID Vaccine Info. I got mine at Shop Rite so I can’t help but maybe someone has been to the one where you are going and can ease your mind on the process. 

This is the Meadowlands site. I was thinking about reactivating my FB account today for an MS group I found, so if I do I'll check it out. I've heard from a friend who went to the Rockaway Mall site and they were having National Guard wheeling in anyone in a wheelchair when they first opened, at least when our friend was there. The doctor sent a very thorough letter, and they are both scheduled for the vaccine 15 minutes apart, so I'm hopeful! Even if they are in sight distance he should be ok. I have heard they are very helpful and friendly at the Meadowlands site, and usually fast moving.

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Not in NJ, but at the mega-site our boys went to, they were allowed to stick together even though their actual appointments were an hour apart. I would bet 15 mins will be close enough, especially if you have a letter as well, to let them go in together and stay together. ((((big hugs))))

As far as the anxiety for you over the shot, even my most needle-adverse kid declared "a scratch from the cat is worse than that!"  and then so far the 4 of us who've had it have all only had sore arms the next day (hydrate and MOVE your arm, a lot, to lessen the pain). 

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If it is run by military, I bet it will be fine. The one I went to here in Florida was a FEMA site run by army, and they were SO amazingly kind. EVERYONE was doing their best to make it as easy as possible. They also had separate stations staffed by nurse practitioners for anyone with questions, issues, etc. So I bet it will be fine. 

As for needle..ugh, my ASD kid used to be really bad about them too....tried to climb out of a window once to avoid a shot! He's better now, but best advice is to tell him to relax his arm. The Daniel Tiger advice of "close your eyes and think of something happy" might help too, but today have him practice tensing and then relaxing his arm, like dead weight. A relaxed arm won't hurt at all. It's way less painful than flu shot, etc! 

Oh! And call the doctor that gave the note and see if they will call in a script for numbing cream! EMLA cream will numb his skin, make him feel better and more confident. We use that for one of my kids with anxiety for shots/blood draws. Rub it all over that whole shoulder/arm area where you gt shots, and cover with plastic wrap so it gets absorbed by skin rather than by the shirt sleeve. Do it over an hour ahead of time, I think was the instructions. Doctors never think to prescribe it, but they usually will if you ask. 

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Oh, and my son and I went together, and didn't purposely try to stick together but were within eyesight most of the time. It was a big open tent system. I got ahead of him at one point, but could ahve held back to wait for him without an issue. 

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I would be prepared to turn around and walk out if it started to go poorly.  It is one of those things, it just IS very stressful, and there will be other chanced to get the vaccine.  

But I think your precautions sound great, and I would expect them to be able to stay together with the letter.  

 

Edited by Lecka
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My mom hates shots and medical procedures with a fiery burning passion, and she said she literally did not feel hers. She was surprised when they started putting on the bandaid. My dad said he "felt something, but it wasn't pain." 

My mom also always, always has a disproportionate amount of anxiety about side effects of meds and shots. Neither she nor my dad had any side effects from their first shot except a bit of arm soreness. Believe me, if there had been anything, I would have heard about it. 😉 

I imagine the doctor's note will be readily accepted. 

Praying for you all.

Edited by MercyA
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We had three of us going at once, and they lumped us all into a group.  So we stayed together, even though our appointments were all 15 minutes apart.  

Also, our facility allowed people who need a caregiver to have one accompany them.  I had to take my 80 yr old mom, and I’m sure they would have been understanding about your situation.

I hear you about the anxiety.  We had to wait 30 minutes after our shots because I have allergies, and the worst I felt was anxiety.

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I just took one of my special needs students to a mega site last week....8,000 shots given.

I was allowed to go with him the entire time.  They just had people come in at their appointment times but never once had us verify the time.  

I would just have them walk in together and stay together.  I saw many family groups all going in together.

Everyone was phenomenal, esp the nurse was he had.  She took extra time as he has severe anxiety and has an intellectual impairment.  

I am of the mind that they just go in and assume that they will stick together unless questioned.  If asked just say, we both have appointments and go with it.

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Just a hint, make sure they all use the restroom before they get there as if the lines are long , esp for parking it might take time to get to a restroom...... speaking from experience.

It took us longer to park in the parking ramp and get inside than it did to get the shot and wait.

 

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Our whole family was vaccinated at the same time (because in Oregon families/caregivers of disabled people were vaccinated at the same time as them, all pretty early on). They scheduled the appointments 2 per time slot, so disabled dd and I were scheduled first then my dh and other dd were scheduled 15 min later. But they just did us all together--really that's preferable to them also. Hopefully it will be the same where you are--there is no inherent advantage to making your dh and ds go separately; really it's best for everyone if they go together. I hear lots of positive stories about how well clinics are being run, so hopefully your family has a smooth experience tomorrow.

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Is the Meadowlands an Atlantic Health location?   I know people who have gone to Rockaway and people in the same family were able to stay together, even without special circumstances.   So it doesn't seem to be against the rules from Atlantic Health. 

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FWIW I was vaccinated last week at another NJ megasite, and if it is the same experience, your son should have no issues.  People were permitted to move through the process together if they chose, and the question was only if you had an appointment for the day.  Nobody worries about the time you are scheduled.  It was a gentle experience throughout, the staff was happy to talk to and reassure those who had questions or were nervous.  
 

Hoping it all goes smoothly!

Edited by bzymom
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Be open and advocate! A simple, “My son has autism and I am his father. His immunization will go much more smoothly if I can be present” would likely be welcome info at the clinic.

Even if he has a meltdown, he likely wouldn’t be the first. Seriously. My pharmacy friends have seen it all lately. 🙂 Knowing a trigger helps everyone understand and be gracious! 🙂 

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7 hours ago, ktgrok said:

As for needle..ugh, my ASD kid used to be really bad about them too....tried to climb out of a window once to avoid a shot! He's better now, but best advice is to tell him to relax his arm. The Daniel Tiger advice of "close your eyes and think of something happy" might help too, but today have him practice tensing and then relaxing his arm, like dead weight. A relaxed arm won't hurt at all. It's way less painful than flu shot, etc! 

Oh! And call the doctor that gave the note and see if they will call in a script for numbing cream! EMLA cream will numb his skin, make him feel better and more confident. We use that for one of my kids with anxiety for shots/blood draws. Rub it all over that whole shoulder/arm area where you gt shots, and cover with plastic wrap so it gets absorbed by skin rather than by the shirt sleeve. Do it over an hour ahead of time, I think was the instructions. Doctors never think to prescribe it, but they usually will if you ask. 

You reminded me of when he was younger, he locked himself in the bathroom at the doctor's, and then ran out her front door, lol. When she got him to come in she put him in some kind of hold and then gave him the shot. He then decided he made a fuss for no reason. He still gets a bit anxious but is ok with actual injections or blood draws now. It's really just the virus/lines anxiety with him now.

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6 hours ago, MercyA said:

My mom hates shots and medical procedures with a fiery burning passion, and she said she literally did not feel hers. She was surprised when they started putting on the bandaid. My dad said he "felt something, but it wasn't pain." 

My mom also always, always has a disproportionate amount of anxiety about side effects of meds and shots. Neither she nor my dad had any side effects from their first shot except a bit of arm soreness. Believe me, if there had been anything, I would have heard about it. 😉 

I imagine the doctor's note will be readily accepted. 

Praying for you all.

Ha, your mom and I are very similar! Thanks for the prayers!!

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6 hours ago, Ottakee said:

Just a hint, make sure they all use the restroom before they get there as if the lines are long , esp for parking it might take time to get to a restroom...... speaking from experience.

It took us longer to park in the parking ramp and get inside than it did to get the shot and wait.

 

That's what I've been hearing, once inside it goes very quickly except for the monitoring period. My son has a bladder of steel. I on the other hand, am a leaky faucet!

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2 hours ago, Wheres Toto said:

Is the Meadowlands an Atlantic Health location?   I know people who have gone to Rockaway and people in the same family were able to stay together, even without special circumstances.   So it doesn't seem to be against the rules from Atlantic Health. 

It's Hackensack Meridian. I think it was more strict in the beginning, so I'm hoping they've relaxed the rules. Our friend went to Rockaway the first week and they weren't letting a woman have her daughter push her wheelchair for her. They had a someone there do it for her. My husband and son both have an appointment so I don't see why they won't let them stick together.

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I went with both of my parents to sites in GA and was able to advocate on their behalf.  Everybody was super nice and so incredibly patient and kind. I still people people are decent and nice. Be upfront and honest; always the best policy. 

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On 3/17/2021 at 10:43 AM, ktgrok said:

  A relaxed arm won't hurt at all. It's way less painful than flu shot, etc! 

 

18 hours ago, Starr said:

It's a shot but seriously the injection is fast and doesn't hurt going in like a flu shot does. Hope all goes well!

I am going to disagree with these statements, lol. 

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21 hours ago, Starr said:

It's a shot but seriously the injection is fast and doesn't hurt going in like a flu shot does. Hope all goes well!

It didn't hurt at all for me either.  You are right, flu shot hurts a lot worse.

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1 hour ago, Ditto said:

It didn't hurt at all for me either.  You are right, flu shot hurts a lot worse.

Me neither. Didn't hurt at all. The pharmacist told me it's a small amount of liquid compared to other vaccines, and the needle is tiny. 

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Ok, success!!! A few little blips - the line was long, which he has trouble with, and when they got to the door they sent them back to their cars for 10 minutes, which caused a mini burst of anger and made him ready to leave. He cooled off after a few minutes, which is huge for him. They were able to stay together and my husband said he was great inside. They both said the shot was painless. Their next appointments are early so that will probably be much faster. I got an appointment for Wednesday, my brother-in-law and his girlfriend are Tuesday and then the whole family will be halfway vaccinated.

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