Virtual Reality for IMMunisation (VRIMM) pain in young children: Results of a randomised controlled trial in general practice

Kirrily Ellerton, Harishan Tharmarajah, Domenico Puleio, Rimma Medres, Lona Brown, David Ringelblum, Kateena Vogel, Amanda Dolphin, Sue McKellar, Fiona Bridson, Eldho Paul, Marietta John-White, Simon S. Craig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Background and objectives Virtual reality (VR) may be useful for reducing needle- based pain and distress. Our objective was to compare VR against standard care for children undergoing routine four-year-old immunisations. Methods This was a randomised controlled superiority trial conducted in a single suburban general practice, comparing a VR sequence of an interactive marine adventure to standard care (parental comfort, distraction of child). Our primary outcome was self-rated pain scores (Faces Pain Scale – Revised and the poker chip tool). Secondary outcomes included observational ratings (visual analogue scales) of pain and distress from caregivers and an observing healthcare provider, and overall enjoyment of the immunisation experience for the parent and child. Results In all, 42 children received VR and 45 received standard care. There was no difference in the primary outcome, with median interquartile range self-rated pain scores of 2 (0–8) in the standard care group and 2 (0–6) in the VR group. Observer ratings of pain and distress, as well as ratings of overall enjoyment, favoured VR. There were no significant adverse events. Discussion VR was not superior to standard care for self-rated pain and distress in children aged four years receiving routine immunisations. However, parent and observer ratings of pain and distress and overall ratings of enjoyment all favoured VR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)704-710
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian Journal of General Practice
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

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