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New local study in Singapore found that VR technology helped youngsters feel less anxious

Youngsters who receive vaccines at polyclinics can soon be offered a virtual reality (VR) headset to help them cope with any fear and pain that they feel during the procedure.

Silver, a virtual reality programme that interprets a two-minute narrative is the technology that can help the children. It can replace animation videos or interactive offerings that are generally used for helping children get through the pain of medical treatment processes. When a child puts on the virtual reality headset, they will come across a spell book and a crystal tower hovering over it.

Burp, an avatar, asks the youngster to help him energise the crystal tower. Burp will tap the child’s left shoulder with a magic wand to correspond with the injection spot. A virtual rune is then triggered on the child’s left shoulder, allowing magical power to flow into the crystal tower.

Nurses can use a tablet to follow the story’s evolution and manage the vaccine administration.


SingHealth Polyclinics (SHP) carried out a pilot project in 2019 to see if virtual reality could help with vaccination phobia among kids.

Burp’s avatar design was selected by a group of twenty children aged four to ten.


To build a tale that keeps youngsters engaged, the team collaborated with scientists from the National Institute of Education and seasoned nurses.

Dr Chang Zi Ying, associate consultant & clinic director of SHP-Sengkang, stated in a recently held virtual briefing that the virtual reality programme entirely plunges a youngster in a virtual environment for reducing pain signals. According to Ying, the VR option is better than distractions like iPads and YouTube videos that still keep children aware of the nurses bringing the needles to their skin.

At SHP-Sengkang, another set of 30 children between the ages of four to ten were recruited for the study. They were divided into two groups of 15 youngsters each: intervention and control. Those in the intervention group wore a virtual reality headset to observe a VR animation whilst receiving a vaccine, whereas those in the control group received their immunisation without seeing the VR animation.

The children in the intervention group had a significantly lower anxiety level than the children in the control group. According to the research team, there were no substantial disparities in pain levels between the two groups, likely due to the limited group of participants in the research study.


When compared to the control group, the anxiety level of accompanying parents decreased dramatically in the intervention group. The anxiety levels of the nurses in both groups were not substantially distinct. The findings, according to Dr. Chang, demonstrate the possibility of adopting VR technologies in children vaccination.

In March, the research was released in the Frontiers In Paediatrics publication. The researchers look to develop the study to include people of all ages, as well as those who are afraid of needles.

According to Tan Ngiap Chuan, SHP director of research, they might even think about starting a range of software so that youngsters can have new VR adventures anytime they visit for immunisations.

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