June 21, 2024

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Video game eases vaccine anxiety in young kids | WJMN

2 min read

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — We know we need them, but no one looks forward to the sting from a vaccine injection. But for some, the fear becomes so great, it prevents them from getting the shot. Estimates show that two in three children have serious anxiety about needles. That’s why Stanford Children’s Health has devised a way to get their mind off that shot with what else … a video game.
Elizabeth Collins has not been looking forward to this day. The typically outgoing nine-year-old Taylor Swift fan is scheduled to receive her annual flu shot.
Elizabeth says, “I’m really nervous whenever I get a shot.”
Clay Collins, Elizabeth’s dad says, “For my daughter, it’s typically been a very stressful situation for her and frankly a stressful situation for us as well.”
Elizabeth isn’t alone in her fear of needles – according to the CDC, as many as one in 10 may delay getting a vaccine due to their phobia.
“Sometimes you can’t even get the kids out of the car if they know they’re going to the hospital for a shot.” Explains Sam Rodriguez, MD, Co-Director Stanford Chariot Program at Stanford Children’s Health
That’s why Doctor Sam Rodriguez and his team recently implemented a video game that eases the stress of getting a shot.
“Our group, the Stanford Chariot Program, has a specialty in finding technology-based solutions to clinical problems. So, we work with software developers. We test it on our own kids, on patients in the hospital and get feedback from them to develop the best product for kids.”
That effort resulted in Pinataz – a game in which kids custom design a pinata and then try to collect the prize inside. The goal is for the patients to be so distracted by the game, they don’t notice the needle … and it works!
Elizabeth says, “It’s less stressful because your eyes are on the game, you’re, like, not thinking about the shot.”
Everything about the game, from its length to the graphics and music, were all carefully designed to absorb the patient.
Clay says, “She was really unaware of anything else happening around her because she was so focused on the game.
“The entire process is so much easier.” States Clay.
The initial roll out of the Pinataz video game has been within the Stanford Health Care system. However, plans are underway for it to be used in other hospitals across the country, and even internationally.
Contributors to this news report include: Jennifer Winter, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor. Joe Alexander-Short, Videographer.

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