How do I deal with my child’s side effects after vaccination?

Children may feel a bit sick for a few days after receiving a vaccination. If your child is crying a lot or is clearly in pain, you may administer an over-the-counter painkiller like paracetamol (acetaminophen). Check that you use the correct dose for your child’s age and weight. Call your family doctor if your child is seriously ill.

Common vaccine side effects

Vaccinations commonly cause:

  • redness;
  • swelling or tenderness where the injection was given;
  • fever and sluggishness.

Most side effects begin shortly after the injection is given and go away within a couple of days. Side effects from the MMR (mumps, measles and rubella) injection do not usually show up until 5 to 12 days after the vaccination. Most side effects are mild and pass without treatment.

Serious vaccine side effects

Occasionally, vaccines may trigger more serious or prolonged side effects. Serious side effects include:

  • discolouration of the legs;
  • persistent or very high fever (at least 40.5 degrees Celsius);
  • intense, non-stop crying (for more than three hours);
  • fainting;
  • seizures.

Always consult your family doctor if you are concerned about your child. The National Immunisation Programme website offers tips on dealing with side effects of vaccination (in Dutch).

Report vaccine side effects

It is important that you report any strange or serious side effects your child may have suffered after vaccination. You can report side effects to the baby and toddler clinic, the municipal health service or the Youth and Family Centre. They will pass the information on to the Netherlands Pharmacovigilance Centre Lareb. Lareb collects and analyses reports of adverse reactions to medicines.

You can also report vaccine side effects to Lareb yourself using the online reporting form on their website.