What are the Side Effects of Infant Immunizations?

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  • Written By: Christina Edwards
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 17 July 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
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An immunization, or vaccine, is a method that physicians use to create an immunity to certain diseases by using minute amounts of dead or weakened micro-organisms. Infant immunizations can help children ward off a number of common diseases that can prove to be very serious, or even life threatening. Reactions to infant immunizations are rare and generally mild compared to the diseases the immunizations prevent. Typical side effects include tenderness or irritation at the injection site, fever, or allergic reaction.

One of the most common side effects of infant immunization is some sort of irritation at the injection site. This can include redness and swelling, usually lasting two to three days. Mild pain or tenderness is also a side effect noted by many parents after their baby gets immunized, and it can be soothed using an oral acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Parents who believe that their child is in excessive pain after an immunization, on the other hand, should contact a pediatrician.

Fever is another common side effect of many infant immunizations, and this will usually last no more than two days. Mild fevers, above 102 degrees Fahrenheit (39 degrees Celsius) can be treated with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. A baby with a fever should be given cold liquids, and parents should avoid using an abundance of blankets or clothing on their child.


Some infant immunizations are live immunizations, meaning that they use weakened or modified versions of a living micro-organism that causes a specific disease. These immunizations can result in infants and children developing mild symptoms of the disease they are being immunized against. For example, one side effect of the chickenpox vaccine is the development of a rash at the injection site.

Although severe allergic reactions are rare, this can happen in a small number of infants and children. It is important for a parent to alert their child's pediatrician of any food or medication allergies before any immunizations. It is especially important to alert the pediatrician of any negative reaction to any infant immunizations that have occurred in the past.

Although some can be alarming, most side effects of infant immunizations are quite mild and can be taken care of at home. Other side effects, however, can be quite serious. Some more serious side effects include red streaking around the injection site, breathing or swallowing difficulties, and unresponsiveness. Emergency medical attention is important in these situations. Also, a fever that lasts for more than three days or spikes to 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) for two hours can increase the risk of seizures.



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