Immunization is an important means of protecting your child/baby from certain “life-threatening” illnesses. Great thank to vaccine programs, many of these threats have been more or less eradicated.

Lets step back and try to understand immunization!

All baby vaccines or immunizations available are there to protect your baby against serious and unpleasant diseases. A vaccine stimulates the immune system in making antibodies (proteins that can fight infection). A vaccine is a virus or bacterium, altered so that it can’t cause illness but instead trigger antibodies which protect your baby if she/he comes into contact with the disease.

Q: OK, but what side effects do vaccines or immunizations have?
A: First of all, the needle causes the initial pain, and seeing that babies aren’t aware of this or understand what is happening, will often leave them crying. You can breastfeed or use a dummy to comfort her/him. Soreness and slight redness are common at the injection site. A Small lump can form, but this is harmless and usually painless and resolves on its own. It is also normal for a baby to be a bit unhappy for a few hours or even a few days after the injection and your baby might get a slight fever. Tender loving care will make a big difference to how your baby feels afterwards. You might give a small dose of paracetamol syrup for the pain or fever, BUT FOLLOW YOUR DOCTOR’S INSTRUCTIONS!!

Routine vaccinations/immunizations

Your baby or child usually need to be immunized against the following infections and viruses!

  • Polio- Poliomyelitis this is a virus that causes damage to the nervous system and can result in permanent paralysis or even death.
  • Diphtheria – a bacterial disease that starts in the throat and can spread to the heart and nervous system.
  • Tetanus – a potentially fatal bacterial infection that can cause paralysis of the muscles.
  • Hib (haemophilus influenzae B)- another bacterial infection that can cause a range of illnesses like meningitis and pneumonia.
  • Meningitis C – Caused by many bacteria’s and viruses. Meningitis mean the inflammation of the meninges, the membranes that protects the brain.
  • Whooping cough (pertussis) – a bacterial disease that sometimes go hand in hand with a fever and often with violent coughing spasms, which can result in vomiting, seizures and even lung damage.
  • Measles – a virus that can cause meningitis, chest infections, seizures and permanent brain damage.
  • Tuberculosis – TB like everyone knows it. A bacterial infection that affects mainly the lungs. If you live in a high risk area where TB is common, your baby will be offered this immunization at birth or a little later.
  • Rubella – This a virus that can cause serious birth defects in unborn babies, although for the majority of children rubella is not serious, this can also result in join pains and inflammation of the brain (encephalitis)
  • Mumps – Can result in meningitis or even deafness. This is a virus that causes painful swelling of the salivary glands.

When to delay immunization/vaccines

  • If you have any concerns about immunization, consult your doctor or health adviser
  • A mild cold need not deter you from immunizing your baby.
  • If your baby has a feverish illness, delay the immunization until they are better.
  • Speak to your doctor or health adviser, if your baby has had a serious reaction to any of the vaccines, it still maybe safe to have the vaccine, but it might be necessary to take additional precautions.

Quote for baby vaccinations or baby immunizations

Protect your child –
Although taking your baby for their vaccines can be upsetting for you as a parent, there is a lot you can do for them afterwards to comfort them, and you should be assured that you are doing the best to protect their health for the years to come.

Please feel free to leave a comment or have any questions or stories…

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  1. I recognise the importance of immunisations, but I am concerned about the fact that many vaccines are preserved in mercury (thimerosal). My question is, are all vaccines stored this way, or can one source vaccines that are not preserved in a harmful substance?

  2. Hi Margot
    I did some research on this, and this is what I found:

    In the past, mercury was present in some vaccines in the form of thimerosal. Thimerosal is an organic mercury compound that has been used as a preservative in some vaccines and other medications since the 1930s.

    There is no evidence that the presence of thimerosal in vaccines causes brain damage in children. Large studies in which some children received vaccines containing thimerosal and received thimerosal-free vaccines showed no difference in the number of children who developed autism.

    As of March 2001, all vaccines for routine immunization of children in Canada and the United States are produced without thimerosal. Thimerosal is a preservative, so it’s used in vaccines that are stored in vials (containers) that have more than one dose. These are the vaccines used for mass immunization programs, such as influenza (given annually at a specific time of year to many Canadians) and hepatitis B in school programs. While the influenza vaccine is made in single-vial units as well-without thimerosal-it may not be available in all provinces and territories.

    You can read more about this topic: Vaccine Safety

  3. Hi, I want to know, my baby is 10 weeks old and when she was born she got a TB Vaccine and Oral Polio Vaccine on her shoulder. The spot has made a mark and is also making a boil, should i do anything to it or leave it. Im hearing alot from different people and is now confused. Please let me know.
    Thank you!

  4. Hi Nadia

    This is normal, it can take some time to disappear. Please don’t fiddle with this at all, just keep this clean. If it really becomes a major concern or infected, then I’d say go see a doctor. But like I said it can take some time to heal. Our baby’s shoulder took a couple of weeks to heal and for the mark to disappear.

    good luck 😉

  5. Hi There,

    My baby was born on 25 September 2009 and received her Vitamin K shot, polio drops and first immunization. When should I take her for a follow up visit to a pediatrician and for her next vaccination. Also, does anyone know if there is a roster or booklet of some kind to keep track of the immunizations and vaccines and when the next one is due.

    Please help, I’m a new and first time father…

  6. Hi Ettiene,

    congratulations on the little one, now all fun starts 😉 You can go to your nearest clinic and ask for a vaccination schedule, they should be able to help you.

  7. My baby needs to go for his 6 week vaccines. May I give him some panado/stopayne or something beforehand just to minimise the pain?

  8. I would say best practice, would be to consult your doctor on that, although we gave our baby Panado syrup afterward and I have to admit it did help a LOT for the pain.

  9. My baby is going for her 6 week check up and immunizations, we have been told by various people to give her 5mls pediatric panado syrup about ten minutes before the injection. I was happy with this until i read the panado bottle and saw it doesnt have any recommended dosages for babies younger than 3 months. is it safe to give my baby panado syrup??

  10. I wouldn’t recommend the 10 minutes before the immunization, however, if your baby is in pain or has any discomfort, only then I would give a small amount to ease the pain (2ml of pediatric Panado syrup for infants under 3 months). Seeing that there is no recommended dosage for infants less than three months I’d rather consult a doctor or pediatrician. Hope this helps.

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