What is normal after an immunisation?

Babies and infants

  • They may be a bit unsettled and cry a little more than usual or they can be a bit tired after their vaccinations for a day or two.

  • They may have mild diarrhoea or a few vomits after the oral Rotarix vaccine which sometimes may last up to a week. You can get more information here.

  • Their legs or arm may be a bit red, itchy or sore to touch for a day or two.

  • A small lump at the injection site is not unusual and may last for a few weeks. This usually does not require any treatment.

  • Some children may feel hot and have a temperature >38 degrees.

  • Some children may develop a rash after MMR or chicken pox vaccine. This rash is not contagious.

Older children and adults

  • They may complain of a headache and be a bit tired for a day or two.

  • Their arm may be a bit red, itchy or sore to touch for a day or two.

  • A small lump at the injection site is not unusual and may last for a few weeks. This usually does not require any treatment.

What you can do to help

Babies and infants

  • They may need to be cuddled and comforted more often. 

  • They may need more frequent breast feeds or drinks throughout the day.

  • They can be given a bath as normal.

  • If the injection site is red and warm to touch, you can put a cool wet cloth (not an ice pack) on their leg or arm.

  • If your baby feels hot, do not wrap them in too many blankets or clothes.

  • Although routine use of paracetamol or ibuprofen after immunisations is not recommended, if your baby has a fever (temperature over 38 degrees) or is in pain, you can give paracetamol or ibuprofen. Follow the directions on the bottle.

You can get more information here and here.

Older children and adults

  • If allowed, they can have paracetamol or ibuprofen if their arm is sore. Follow the directions on the packaging.

  • If the injection site is red and warm to touch, you can put a cool wet cloth (not an ice pack) on their arm.

  • It really helps to keep moving the arm after an immunisation so they can still play sport that day.

  • It is ok to have a shower after an immunisation.

  • They should keep drinking plenty of oral fluids, preferably water.

When to see a doctor

You or your child need to see a doctor if:

  • paracetamol or ibuprofen is not relieving the fever, particularly for babies and infants 

  • your baby has sudden unusual screaming episodes with vomiting or blood in the bowel motion

  • your symptoms are not improving or getting worse.

Specialist immunisation services 

If your child has a complex medical condition, allergies or you are worried about vaccines, your doctor can refer you to one of the specialist immunisation services to talk with a highly trained doctor or nurse. 
 

Vaccine safety monitoring

Vaccine safety is important. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) regulates all medicines in Australia, including vaccines. Vaccines are rigorously tested in human clinical trials to confirm that they are safe and effective before they can be used. Both active and passive surveillance systems are used in Australia to monitor adverse events following immunisation. 

Last updated December 2018