Vaccine safety

12. If my child gets a fever after immunisation, should he or she get more vaccines?

13. Should I still bring my baby for their immunisation appointment if s/he has a fever or cold or diarrhea?

14. Do vaccines decrease the child's natural ability to fight disease?

15. Why does my baby need so many vaccines?

16. Why does my baby need so many vaccines at once?

17. I heard that giving several vaccines in one day can overload the immune system. Can you give my child just one today?

18. What do you mean by “combination vaccine”?

19. Why do some children get very sick and even die after immunisation?

20. What about vaccines and autism?

21. Can an immunisation given to a woman affect her ability to have children?

12. If my child gets a fever after immunisation, should he or she get more vaccines?

    • Yes, your child should receive all immunisations on the basic schedule.
    • Fever following DPT-Hep B in particular, but other vaccines as well, is normal.
    • Fever is a sign that the body is preparing itself to fight the diseases.
    • Fever after immunisation usually begins within 24 hours after the injection and lasts to 1 or 2 days.
    • A lukewarm bath or paracetamol can be given to a child in the case of a high fever following immunisation. Only the minimum dose appropriate for your child’s size should be given.
    • If the fever is very high or lasts more than 2 days, please bring the child back because s/he might have something wrong not related to the vaccines.


13. Should I still bring my baby for their immunisation appointment if s/he has a fever or cold or diarrhea?
    • Yes! If you are very concerned, you can contact a doctor ahead of the scheduled vaccination, or when you bring your baby for the visit, the nurse or doctor will examine him/her and let you know if immunisation should be postponed.
    • Immunising a child who is not very seriously ill will not harm the child and will not make the illness worse. Children with a cold, earache, mild fever, or diarrhea, for example, can be safely immunised.
    • In fact, the weak condition of a child who is malnourished or ill with cough, cold, diarrhea, or fever makes him/her particularly vulnerable to disease. For this reason, it is very important to keep to the immunisation schedule as long as the child does not have a high fever (> 38.5/101.3 degrees) or is not so sick that he or she needs to be hospitalised.


14. Do vaccines decrease the child's natural ability to fight disease?
    • No! Vaccines do not decrease a child’s natural ability to fight diseases.
    • Vaccines teach the body to fight specific diseases without having to experience those actual diseases.


15. Why does my baby need so many vaccines?
    • It can seem like there are a lot of vaccines, but thank goodness our children can be protected from so many illnesses!
    • The moment a baby is born, s/he is exposed to illnesses that pass from one person to another.
    • Doctors and scientists develop vaccines to teach the body to fight off several illnesses.
    • The vaccines your child gets will protect her/him from these dangerous illnesses. Most vaccines require more than one dose in order to provide the best protection.
    • Not too long ago, we had few vaccines to protect our children. Many more children got very sick or even died from diseases that can now be prevented with vaccines.


16. Why does my baby need so many vaccines at once?
    • Vaccine schedules are designed to provide maximum benefit from the vaccines. Young children are more vulnerable to more diseases than adults and older children. The sooner they can be safely immunised, the better.
    • Every day, all over the world, babies safely receive multiple immunisations.
    • It takes time to bring the baby in, and other life problems can make visiting the clinic difficult. Giving several vaccines at once avoids extra trips to the clinic and also ensures more children get all the vaccines they need to get protected against the diseases vaccines prevent.


17. I heard that giving several vaccines in one day can overload the immune system. Can you give my child just one today?
    • I can see why you might think that, but consider how many germs your child’s body fights off every day. Everything they put in their mouths has germs, but the body fights off the vast majority of them. Otherwise, your child would be sick all the time (or worse). Compare that to vaccines, which only have killed or extremely weak versions of germs to teach the body how to fight the real thing. Your child’s body has no trouble handling them.
    • We have immunized many, many children at this facility and have not seen any problem from giving several vaccines during the same visit. In the same visit, we always give different injections in different spots on the child’s body. This prevents the child getting too sore in one area.
    • Your child is actually more likely to be harmed by delaying a vaccine, since during that delay your child might be exposed to the disease and become sick.
    • Before vaccines are introduced together, doctors test them to be sure they are safe when given together.


18. What do you mean by “combination vaccine”?
    • Two or more different vaccines are sometimes combined into a single injection. These combination vaccines build protection for your child against more than one disease with a single injection.
    • They reduce the number of injections your child needs, as well as the number of visits to the health center. This is easier on your child and saves you time and effort.


19. Why do some children get very sick and even die after immunisation?
    • This may occur on extremely rare occasions, but most likely the immunisation did not cause the sickness. Instead another disease probably caused the sickness or death, and it was most likely by chance that the child got sick around the time of the vaccination. After all, young children get sick fairly often.
    • Scientists and governments investigate such cases thoroughly to understand the cause of the problem.


20. What about vaccines and autism?
    • The 1998 study that raised concerns about a possible link between measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism was later found to have very serious mistakes and made-up data.
    • The paper was later retracted by the journal that published it.
    • Unfortunately, the article set off a panic that led to dropping immunisation rates, resulting in outbreaks of diseases.
    • There is no evidence of a link between the MMR vaccine and autism or autistic disorders.


21. Can an immunisation given to a woman affect her ability to have children?
    • Immunisations given to women (most commonly, tetanus toxoid given to pregnant women) protects them and their newborn children from disease. [TT is actually being phased out now, being replaced by Td; other vaccines are recommended for pregnant women as well in some countries.]
    • Vaccines do not affect women’s ability to have children or carry any risk for the health of newborn children.
    • You probably know many women in your community who have been immunised and later have more children.

Last modified: Friday, 19 October 2018, 3:55 AM