Even with decades of research studies showing that vaccines save lives and protect children from more than a dozen diseases, parents are still—understandably—concerned about vaccine effectiveness and safety. That’s why pediatricians spend a lot of time with parents clearing up these misconceptions about vaccines and their risks.
While natural to be concerned about the medical care your children receive (especially for very young babies), the lifesaving benefits that come with following the recommended vaccine schedule certainly outweigh the very small risks that accompany them. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, out of a million doses of a vaccine that are given, only one to two people may have a severe allergic reaction. “Very serious reactions are so rare, that we can’t even attribute them to the shot,” says Alok Patel, MD, a pediatrician at New York Presbyterian-Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital.
Looking for more vaccine peace of mind? Ask your pediatrician as many questions as you need to make you feel at ease, and read up on the side effects you can expect after your child’s vaccination. Here’s what pediatricians want you to know about child vaccine side effects.
Common Side Effects of Child Vaccines
The most common side effects are very mild. After your child gets vaccinated, you might notice:
It’s very common for newborns after the two-month and four-month vaccine visit to sleep a lot, says Dyan Hes, MD, a pediatrician who is double-board certified in pediatrics and obesity medicine. They’re sleepy because their immune system is working in overdrive to learn the disease, so it’s prepared to fight it in the future. “I tell parents [to] enjoy it,” says Dr. Hes. “You don’t have to wake your baby to feed them. When their body is starting to feel better, they will wake up and start eating well.”
How to Comfort Your Child During and After the Vaccination
You want nothing more than your child to feel safe and comforted during their appointment. Here are some tips to soothe your baby before and after getting vaccinated:
During the vaccination:
After the vaccination:
If you’re concerned that your baby is achy or feeling pain after getting vaccinated, your initial reaction may be to give them a pain reliever, but talk to your doctor for their advice.
“When it comes to counseling about giving acetaminophen or ibuprofen, I usually recommend patients to wait and see,” says Preeti Parikh, MD, a pediatrician at Mount Sinai Hospital and HealthiNation’s chief medical editor. “A lot of babies and infants do great after breastfeeding or just going for a walk. So I always say just give it a chance, and see how your child will react to the vaccine.”
Now that you’re prepared for your next appointment, find out when and how often you should go. Here’s look at the vaccine schedule recommended for babies.