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  » Immunization Schedules  »  Common side effects of immunisation and what to do about them

Common side effects of immunisation & what to do about them

Many children experience minor side effects following immunisation. Most of these only last a short time and the child recovers without any problems. A child needs comforting if side effects occur and you can reduce the side effects by following a few simple guidelines. Listed below are common side effects of each immunisation and what you can do about them.

DTPa (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine)

Common reactions

The following may occur soon after immunisation and may last up to two days:

  • low grade fever
  • being grizzly, unsettled and generally unhappy
  • soreness, swelling and redness in the area where the injection was given
What to do
  • Give extra fluids to drink
  • Do not overdress the baby if hot
  • Give paracetamol to lower fever if needed

MMR (measles-mumps-rubella vaccine)

Common reactions

Discomfort at the injection site may occur. The following may occur five to twelve days after immunisation and last less than 48 hours:

  • low grade fever
  • faint rash (not infectious)
  • head cold and/or runny nose
  • cough and/or puffy eyes
  • stiff neck or joint pain
  • swelling of the facial glands may occur about three weeks after immunisation
What to do
  • Give extra fluids to drink
  • Do not overdress the child if hot
  • Give paracetamol to lower fever if needed

OPV (oral poliomyelitis vaccine)

Possible reactions

The following reactions are uncommon and if they occur it is soon after the immunisation:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Headache and/or muscle pains

What to do

  • Give extra fluids to drink
  • Give paracetamol to relieve aches/pains if needed

Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) vaccine

Possible reactions

The following reactions are uncommon and if they occur, it is soon after the immunisation:

  • Low grade fever
  • Soreness, redness and swelling in the area where the injection was given
What to do
  • Give extra fluids to drink
  • Do not overdress the baby if hot
  • Give paracetamol to lower fever if needed

Hepatitis B vaccine

Possible reactions

The following reactions are uncommon and if they occur, it is soon after the immunisation:

  • Low grade fever
  • Nausea, feeling unwell and joint pain
  • Soreness, redness and swelling in the area where the injection was given

What to do

  • Give extra fluids to drink
  • Do not overdress the baby if hot
  • Give paracetamol to lower fever if needed

Speak to your doctor or health clinic staff if you are worried about such reactions.