Side Effects of Vaccines in Babies – Everything You Need to Know

6 min read

Written by Aparna Hari

Aparna Hari

Side Effects of Vaccines in Babies

Once your baby enters the world, they will get their first vaccine within 24 to 48 hours of their birth. This starts a series of vaccines which are given according to a fixed schedule. This schedule remains more or less the same for all babies. The side effects of vaccines for babies also remain the same in most cases. First time parents may worry about these side effects, especially for newborns and very young babies. Side effects of vaccines are quite common and should not deter your from getting your baby one.

Vaccines help babies to build their immune systems. They help to fight efficiently deadly diseases by igniting the immune response to the same. Vaccines are products that assist in fighting deadly diseases. These are mostly given during childhood. They stimulate the body’s natural defenses and help to fight diseases faster. Vaccines provide protection against many deadly diseases and must be given as per the schedule recommended by your pediatrician.

In This Article

Are Vaccines Safe For Babies?

Vaccines are safe for babies as they are clinically tested before they are distributed to the public. These vaccines have to follow rigorous safety standards before they are administered to people.

Vaccines are important for your babies as they save their lives from deadly diseases. As their immune system is in the developing process vaccines will protect them from getting any virus in the body.

Common Reactions and Side Effects of Vaccines For Babies

Side Effects of Vaccines For Babies

There are rarely any serious side effects of vaccines. But, some reactions may be seen commonly in babies after the vaccination which is discussed under:

1. Fever and Pain

Sometimes your baby may get a fever or pain at the injection site which is temporary. You may give medicines for fever as suggested by the doctor and use a cold pack to apply to the pain.

2. Irritability

Your baby may feel irritable for some hours after the vaccination. In that case, cuddling the baby and comforting them becomes important. If the baby is breastfeeding, it is pivotal to feed the baby more. Also, some fresh air may help to calm the baby.

[Read : Irritability in Babies]

3. Redness

The area at the injection site may be red for some babies. In that case, a cold pack can be applied to the area after consulting with the doctor or nurse.

4. Formation of a Lump

A hard lump may also develop at the injection site.

5. Swelling

Some babies also develop swelling in the vaccinated area.

6. Tenderness

The area of shots in your baby may develop tenderness after the vaccination.

7. Sleep

Babies may tend to sleep more after vaccination.

8. Loss of Appetite

Some babies may drink less milk or have less food after the vaccination, especially if they develop a fever and pains. this situation will resolve on its own in a day or two.

[Read : Loss of Appetite in Babies]

Rare Side Effects of Vaccines For Babies

There is hardly any chance of getting rare side effects of vaccination. Still, it is always good to know the rare side effects associated with vaccination. In case you observe any of these side effects, you must rush your baby to the doctor immediately.

The following are some of the rarer side effects of vaccinations among babies.

1. Allergic Reaction

This is scientifically known as Anaphylaxis which occurs in one in million but can be treated.

2. Bowel Blockage

This happens in one in 17000 babies within the seven days of the rotavirus vaccine.

3. Seizure With Fever

When a baby’s fever rises, a seizure may take place which may last for 2 minutes. It may be frightening but does not have lasting effects.

[Read : Epilepsy In Babies]

What to Do if Babies Have an Allergic Reaction to Vaccines?

Babies Have an Allergic Reaction to Vaccines

Some babies do experience allergic reactions to vaccines. Look out for the following reactions and rush your baby to the doctor if your baby is experiencing any of the following symptoms after taking a vaccine.

  • Itching and hives
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Paleness and irritability
  • Fast Heartbeat
  • Swelling in the throat

What to Do if Your Baby Has Serious Side Effects?

If your baby gets serious side effects after vaccination it is important to go to the emergency department or to a doctor for help before the situation worsens. In case of mild fever or mild rash, medicines might work. But if your baby has trouble breathing and muscle stiffness then it is important to call for an ambulance

When Should You Consider Calling a Doctor?

mom calling doctor for baby crying

If any vaccine causes an allergy in your baby, you would notice something wrong. Any reaction after the vaccine occurs quickly within a few minutes or hours. You should look for some specific reactions in your baby like wheezing, fast heartbeat, dizziness, swelling in the face or throat, high fever (105 degrees), pale colour, seizures, hoarseness, hives, etc.

In case of any of the above reactions, you should call a doctor. Though severe side effects are rare you should consult your doctor for any symptoms you see bothering your baby after the vaccination.

Another sign is when your baby cries inconsolably for more than 3 hours you should take it seriously and call a doctor.

Any serious symptoms you see in your baby you should go to the hospital with your baby right away.

Vaccines are the greatest invention of science for the survival of humanity. Many vaccinations have turned to be life savers and also have been effectively able to wipe out diseases from the face of the earth. Despite some people believing that vaccines are harmful, this is far from the truth. Certain side effects are routine and just show that the vaccine is working to provide immunity to your baby. Incase your baby develops any serious side effects which are worrying, dont hesitate to call your doctor.


1. What if Your Baby Gets a Fever?

Fever is the most common side effect of vaccines. It tells that the body is responding to the immune system. Whenever your baby gets vaccinated it is common to have a fever. There is nothing to get worried about. It is important to keep your baby hydrated by giving them plenty of fluids. You can also give a sponge bath to the baby to bring down the fever. But if the fever is too high you can seek a doctor’s suggestions and give medicine.

2. Can Vaccines Cause Autism?

There is no scientific evidence that there is a link between vaccines and autism. But, the concern regarding the link between autism and vaccine began with the MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccine. The study published in 1998 supported that the MMR vaccine causes Autism. Some parents held the belief that this vaccine led to the start of autism. The reason for this belief is that the vaccine is given during early childhood and autism is also often diagnosed during the same time. So, people tried to connect the dots. Added to this, media reports, activists group, some false research reports also tried to scare people.

Numerous other kinds of research thereafter negated the idea that vaccine causes Autism. But, still, that belief prevailed in the minds of some and they chose to not vaccinate their children. But, this gets risky. If you have any doubt about your baby’s vaccination talk to the doctor you often consult. Ask your doctor about the benefits and risks of each vaccine to have a better understanding.

3. Is There Any Mercury in Vaccines?

Yes there is a mercury compound called Thiomersal used as preservatives in some vaccines. Some activists promoted that this mercury is responsible for autism but there is no scientific evidence and even WHO states that this mercury compound addition does not cause any sort of effects in babies. Thiomersal curbs the growth of bacteria in vaccines and maintains the sterility, safety and efficacy of the vaccine.

4. How Long Do Babies Feel Unwell After Vaccinations?

At the most 3-5 days. The symptoms of side effects like swelling, redness, etc. develop within 24 hours of vaccination and last for 3-5 days. Fever may last for 1-2 days. The side effects of the DTaP vaccine can last for 7 days. With MMR vaccines and chicken pox shots, the reaction starts between 1 and 4 weeks.

5. Should You Let Your Baby Sleep After Vaccination?

Yes, you should let your baby sleep after vaccination because if the babies are sleeping their body is doing a great job. After the immunization, your baby may feel extra sleepy and sleep more than usual.

Read Also: 10 Ways to Ease Your Baby’s Vaccination Pain

Aparna Hari,MBA in Marketing,P.G. Diploma in Human Resource Management from IGNOU Bachelor of Sciences (Home Science) from Nagarjuna University

Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.Read more.

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