A dose of music with your COVID-19 vaccination

5th February 2021


Vaccinations are on all our minds at the moment, potentially causing a degree of agitation for many. With our new guide, you can find out how music can be used to help alleviate COVID-19 jab anxiety for people living with dementia and others.

A dose of music with your COVID-19 vaccination’ explains how music can be used to manage the physiological symptoms and psychological response to vaccinations among people with dementia. The 1-page guide includes advice for carers, health practitioners and individuals on how music helps, with practical measures to take before during and after the jab to manage the experience and make it more pleasant.

It has been co-produced by Music for Dementia and leading organisations in music and care for people with dementia including: National Care Forum, National Activity Providers Association (NAPA), Methodist Homes Association (MHA), Dementia Change Action Network, Live Music Now and Music in Hospitals & Care. Contributors included music therapists and Jennifer Bute, a retired GP now living with dementia.

Although conceived originally for people living with this condition, the information in the guide is also useful for people with other conditions or impairments who may be distressed or agitated by vaccinations or unusual events.

A colourful poster is also available to complement the guide and both are suitable for displaying at vaccination centres to help people understand how they might help themselves or others.

In recent weeks music, as a therapeutic counterfoil to anxiety, has been put into practice at vaccination venues such as Salisbury cathedral, where organ music was played live to people awaiting and receiving their COVID vaccination.

Grace Meadows, Programme Director of Music for Dementia, said: “There is no situation that is immune to the power of music. We have seen this time and time again during the pandemic. The vaccination experience is no different; the calming and soothing properties of music can help reduce anxiety around having the vaccination, particularly for those living with dementia.”

Vic Rayner, Executive Director, National Care Forum, said: “It’s official. We want you to bang the drum for vaccination, or sound the trumpet or tinkle the ivories! We don’t mind what instrument you pick – but this guidance will give you some real inspiration as to how you can use the incredible power of music to support people in planning for and having the COVID-19 vaccination.”

The Very Revd Nicholas Papadopulos, Dean of Salisbury, commented: “Bach, Handel… or Rodgers and Hammerstein: here in Salisbury, the mellifluous music of the Cathedral organ has helped thousands of vaccination patients to feel welcome and at ease. Music is one of the most sublime gifts we can offer one another, and its impact on human wellbeing is transformational.”

Download the guide and poster using the links below.

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