What to expect after your child’s vaccinations

After receiving vaccination(s), your baby may cry for a little while but this usually settles quickly with a cuddle or a feed.

Most babies don’t have any reaction, but at site of injection (upper arm or thigh) there could be:

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Small hard lump

These settle within 2-3 days and do not need any treatment.

Fever – this is a temperature over 37.5°C (99.5°F).

Fevers are quite common in young children but are usually mild and can occur after any vaccination. If their face feels hot to touch and they look flushed or red-cheeked, they may have a fever so check their temperature with a thermometer.

If they do have fever:

  • Make sure they don’t have too much clothing or bedding on them
  • Give them plenty of cool fluids
  • Do not put them in the bath, sponge them down or put a fan on them

Giving paracetamol will reduce any fever, irritability and general discomfort after vaccinations.

Bexsero (Meningitis B) Vaccination

Fever is common after this vaccination, especially when given with the other routine childhood vaccines at 2 and 4 months old. The fever shows the baby’s body is responding to the vaccine although not getting a fever does not mean it hasn’t worked. The new advice is to give your baby a total of 3 doses of paracetamol liquid to prevent and treat any potential fever.

Dosage and timing of infant paracetamol suspension for use after primary vaccinations with Meningitis B:

Age of baby Up to 6 months (usually at 2 and 4 months)
Dose 1 One 2.5ml (60mg) dose as soon as possible after vaccination
Dose 2 One 2.5ml (60mg) dose 4-6 hours after the first dose
Dose 3 One 2.5ml (60mg) dose 4-6 hours after the second dose

If your baby continues to have a fever after 3 doses of paracetamol but is otherwise well, you can continue to give them the same dose of paracetamol liquid so long as you leave at least 4 hours between doses and never give more than four doses in any 24 hour period. There is no need to wake your baby when the next dose is due as you can give it to them when they next wake.

By the age of 12 months, you baby’s risk of fever after Bexsero is the same as with the other vaccinations so they do not need 3 doses of paracetamol with any Bexsero boosters if over 1-year-old.

MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) Vaccination

Each of the 3 components of this injection can cause reactions at different times.

  • 6–10 days the measles vaccine starts to work and may cause a fever, a measles-like rash and loss of appetite.
  • 12–14 days the rubella vaccine may cause a brief rash and possibly a slight fever (rarely a rash can occur up to 6 weeks later)
  • 2–3 weeks the mumps vaccine may cause mumps-like symptoms in some children (fever and swollen glands).

Remember – never give medicines that contain aspirin to children under 16.

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