Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects that are usually mild and brief. Most children are fine after getting a shot. Side effects are usually minimal and last less than 24 hours. In rare cases, a child may have a serious allergic reaction. The risks of a serious reaction happening are lower than the risks of the diseases the shots prevent. After your child receives a vaccination (shot), your child will be asked to wait for 15 minutes to make sure that there are no side effects. Below are common side effects and what you can do.
|Symptoms||What to do?|
A sore, red, itchy, or swollen spot where the shot was given
Flu-like symptoms including:
Severe reactions do not happen often. Seek medical attention if your child:
- Gets a rash. This may happen after the MMR, MMRV, or varicella (chickenpox) vaccine.
- Feels itchy, has redness, or raised itchy red bumps all over their body
- Has convulsions.
- Has a temperature 39oC (102.2oF) or greater or a fever that lasts more than 2 days.
- Is feeling shortness of breath, wheezing, or has tightness in their throat.
- Has facial swelling.
- Has joint pain or stiffness.
Remember to have your health care provider update your child’s immunization record. Parents should call the Health Unit to report their shots as health care providers do not report what shots your child receives.
For more information contact the Health Unit or speak to your health care provider.
- AboutKidsHealth. (2017). Common vaccine side effects. Retrieved from http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/En/HealthAZ/HealthandWellness/RoutineHealthCare/Pages/common-vaccine-side-effects.aspx.
- American Academy of Pediatrics. (2018). Red book: 2018-2021 Report of the committee on infectious diseases (31st ed.). D.W. Kimberlin, M.T. Brady, M.A. Jackson, & S.S. Long (Eds.). Itasca, IL.
- Government of Canada. (2018). A parent’s guide to vaccination. Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/healthy-living/parent-guide-vaccination.html.
- Government of Canada. (2016). Canadian immunization guide: Part 2 – Vaccine safety. Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/healthy-living/canadian-immunization-guide-part-2-vaccine-safety/page-4-early-vaccine-reactions-including-anaphylaxis.html#p2c3a3.