After Your Child is Immunised - HE1504
Information for parents and caregivers about what may happen after their child is immunised, and what they can do to help.
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Updated for March 2023 change.
Information for parents and caregivers
Most immunisations do not cause a reaction, but your child may develop a fever or experience tenderness, swelling and redness where the injection was given.
Here are some ways to make your child more comfortable.
Give your child lots of cuddles and lots of fluids to drink. If breastfeeding, give them lots of feeds.
If your child is hot, it can help to undress them down to a single layer, for example, a singlet and nappies or pants. Make sure the room is not too hot or too cold.
Tenderness, swelling and redness at the injection site
Ice wrapped in a dry cloth, or a cooled cloth, can be held over the injection site if it is sore.
Don’t rub the injection site. This can make the reaction worse.
Give paracetamol or ibuprofen only as advised by your doctor or nurse. Paracetamol may reduce the effectiveness of childhood vaccinations.
If you are concerned about your child after their immunisation, contact your family doctor or nurse. You can also call Healthline 0800 611 116 day or night.
These reactions can be expected, but they may not happen for all children
|Today your child received||Vaccine||Most common reaction||When could this start|
|Rotavirus (Rotarix®)||Mild fever, diarrhoea, vomiting||Within 7 days|
|Measles-mumps-rubella (Priorix®)||Fever, rash, unsettled, swollen glands||Rash between 5 and 12 days after immunisation|
Diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis-inactivated polio-hepatitis B/Haemophilus influenzae type b (INFANRIX® hexa)
Pneumococcal (Prevenar 13®)
Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hiberix®)
Diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis-inactivated polio (INFANRIX® IPV)
Hepatitis B (Engerix-B®)
|Fever, unsettled, swelling or redness at the injection site, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea||Within 6–24 hours|
|Varicella (Varivax®)||Swelling or redness at the injection site, fever, rash (rarely infectious)||Rash between 5 and 26 days after immunisation|
|Meningococcal (Bexsero®)||Fever over 38°C, discomfort
or pain around the injection
site. Infants and children
may also be irritable, have
unusual crying or a loss
|Within 6-24 hours. Fever
usually peaks 6 hours after
vaccination and settles
over 24–48 hours. Follow
provided by your vaccinator.
Occasionally, more serious reactions to vaccines occur. If you are concerned about your child after their immunisation, contact your family doctor or nurse. You can also call Healthline 0800 611 116 day or night. In an emergency, call 111 for an ambulance.
Serious reactions are recorded by the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM), and reports can be made online at otago.ac.nz/carm. Your doctor or nurse can help you with this.
If your child has had a strong reaction to an immunisation, discuss future immunisations with your doctor. Most children can continue immunisation with medical supervision.
For more information about immunisation call 0800 IMMUNE or immune.org.nz