When most folks think about getting a vaccine, they typically picture someone getting a shot.
It is important to remember that not all vaccines are shots though.
And even for those vaccines that are given as shots, not all of them are given intramuscularly (IM).
Which Vaccines Can Be Given IM?
Vaccines that are given by intramuscular injection include:
- DTaP, Pediarix, Pentacel, Kinrix, Quadracel (DTaP containing vaccines)
- hepatitis A
- hepatitis B
- Hib containing vaccines (Hib, Pentacel, Comvax, Kinrix, Quadracel)
- Gardasil9 (HPV vaccines)
- flu shots
- Menactra, Menveo, Bexsero, Trunembra (Meningococcal vaccines)
- Prevnar13, Pneumovax* (Pneumococcal vaccines)
- IPV* (polio vaccine)
- Boostrix, Adacel (Tdap vaccines)
*The Pneumovax and IPV vaccines can be given either IM or Subcutaneously (SQ).
There are exceptions though. Kids with hemophilia can get IPV and the hepatitis A and B vaccines SQ, instead of IM.
Where to Give IM Injections?
While newborns, infants, and younger toddlers get their IM injections in their anterolateral thigh muscle, older children typically get them in their anterolateral thigh muscle or in the deltoid muscle of their arm.
Be sure to use the correct needle size, length and gauge, and insert the needle with a quick thrust at a 90° angle to the skin (rapid injection technique). Keep in mind that it is not necessary to aspirate after injecting the needle and that multiple injections in the same extremity should be separated by at least one inch.
What to Know About IM Vaccines
It is important to know which vaccines need to be given intramuscularly (IM) and both how and where to give these shots.
More on IM Vaccines
- AAP – Vaccine Administration
- ACIP – General Best Practice Guidelines for Immunization: Best Practices Guidance of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices
- How to Administer IM (Intramuscular) Injections
- Injectable Vaccines by Route
- Anatomic Sites for Immunization
- Administering Vaccines: Dose, Route, Site, and Needle Size
- Ask the Experts about Administering Vaccines
- CDC – Immunization: You Call the Shots-Module Eighteen- Vaccine Administration
- Don’t Be Guilty of These Preventable Errors in Vaccine Administration!
- Skills Checklist for Pediatric Immunization
- MASAC Recommendations on Administration of Vaccines to Individuals with Bleeding Disorders
- Injection vs Ingestion. Myths and Facts.
- Vaccines are a pain: What to do about it