Side Effects of Vaccination in Babies: Causes & When to Visit Doctor

5 Common Side-Effects of Vaccination in Babies

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Gunjan Baweja (Paediatrician)
View more Paediatrician Our Panel of Experts

As a parent, you would want to do everything to make sure your little one is safe and healthy. An essential step in caring for your baby is getting him vaccinated. You will be required to give quite a few shots or vaccinations to your baby in his first year after birth to protect him from various fatal illnesses and infections. However, your baby’s woes may not come to an end with the shot, and sometimes it may cause side-effects. Though most of the vaccination side-effects are normal and may not cause many problems to your child, sometimes more severe side-effects can arise, causing great discomfort to your baby. In the following article, we shall discuss everything about vaccination side-effects in babies.

Video : Common Side Effects of Vaccination in Babies & What to Do If the Baby Has Any 

What Causes Vaccination Side-Effects in Babies?

It is very normal for parents to worry about vaccination’s side-effects in babies. However, it is equally crucial for the parents to understand that there is no need to panic because just the way certain medicines may cause mild to severe side-effects in babies, the same applies to vaccinations as well. Mostly the side-effects are mild and subside within a few days without any major medical intervention.

Babies fall sick very often, and sometimes they may come up with something at the same time when they get a shot. Under such situations, it is often misunderstood as side-effects of the vaccination. Similarly, some vaccinations coincide with the time when most developmental delays are reported (such as MMR, which is administered at 12-15 months), so it doesn’t really mean that a certain vaccination may be causing developmental delays in babies.

Some babies may develop side-effects due to the administration of a particular vaccination, but these are very mild and can get easily cured. Though sometimes serious side-effects are reported too, these are a very rare occurrence.

Infographics: 5 Common Side-Effects of a Vaccination in Babies

5 Common Side-Effects of a Vaccination in Babies

Common Side-Effects of a Vaccination in Infants

Here are some common side-effects or adverse effects of vaccines in babies:

1. Fever

Fever is one of the most common side-effects of certain vaccinations in babies. Your baby may have a fever for 24 hours to 48 hours. Paracetamol can be given to reduce fever.

2. Redness

You may observe redness at the site of injection. This usually subsides within 3 to 4 days. However, warm compressions may help ease the redness.

3. Formation of a Lump

Sometimes a lump may form under the skin, at the site of injection. This may happen due to the bleeding that occurs under the skin. This may take a few days to subside.

4. Sleep

Your baby may feel extra sleepy or groggy after taking a shot. This may happen for a day or two. However, there is no need to feel worried if your baby is waking up regularly for feeds.

5. Irritability

The pain and discomfort from the vaccine may make your baby irritable and cranky. Do not worry as this would get over within a day or two.

These are some of the common side-effects that you may notice after your baby gets a shot. However, if any of the given side-effects get serious or your baby seems to be very uncomfortable and restless, you should seek medical help.

What Should You Do if Your Baby Has Side-Effects?

As a parent, it is very difficult to see your baby in any kind of pain and discomfort. The first thing that you should do is calm your baby. Your baby may be in pain and thus applying warm compressions at the site of injection may help soothe the redness and swelling. You can even ask your doctor to administer any anti-inflammatory medicine to your baby to ease the pain and discomfort. Though there are many over-the-counter medicines available in the market, and it is best to seek your doctor’s advice on the same. Exercise caution while lifting your baby and refrain from touching the site where the vaccine has been given. Sometimes moving the arm or leg where the vaccine had been administered helps in relieving the pain.

How Long Does a Baby’s Vaccination Side-Effects Last?

Some babies may experience side-effects after getting a shot. These side-effects are usually easily treatable and may subside within 48 to 72 hours after your baby gets the shot. There are some vaccines that may show side-effects after 5 to 12 days of administering the vaccine (such as MMR vaccine). In most cases, the side-effects may subside within 2-3 days; however, if you notice any side-effects after this period, it is recommended that you seek medical help for the same.

When to Call a Doctor

Seldom do vaccinations cause any fatal complications in babies. However, if you notice any of the following symptoms or after-effects of vaccinations in babies, you should call a doctor:

  • If your baby is crying non-stop for more than three hours (make sure your baby is not crying because of colic).
  • If your baby has a high fever, which is 104 degrees or more.
  • If you notice that your baby is extremely lethargic, unresponsive, or sleepy.
  • If your baby has convulsions or seizures (these may result from a high fever).
  • In case you notice any kind of behavioural change in your baby that does not appear to be normal to you.
  • In case you notice seizures that may become severe and persistent.
  • In case your baby develops an allergic reaction such as rash, swelling, breathing difficulties, etc.

As soon as you notice any vaccination side-effects, you should report it to your baby’s doctor. Timely medical intervention can save your baby from any kind of serious medical condition. It is also possible that the side-effects are not because of the vaccine, but some other underlying medical condition that your baby may be suffering from. Whatever be the case, it is recommended that you get in touch with your baby’s doctor whenever you experience anything unusual after your baby gets a shot.

Also Read:

Fever After Vaccination in Babies
Pain After Vaccination in Babies 
Pneumococcal Vaccine for Babies
Painless Vaccination for Babies

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