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Side Effects from Vaccines

As with any medication, there are possible risks and side effects associated with vaccines. However, the risk of serious allergic reaction is very rare. In comparison, the risk of severe complications, hopsitalization or death from vaccine-preventable disease is much greater. The benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks.

Vaccines undergo rigorous safety testing prior to being approved by the FDA and are continually monitored for safety. All vaccine ingredients are tested to be safe. Vaccines are also studied to be administered together, to work in conjunction to safely prompt your child's immune sytem to build protection.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in most cases vaccine side effects are minor and go away within a few days. Side effects vary according to vaccine type, but generally mild side effects may include:

  • Pain, redness, tenderness or swelling at injection site
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Itching at injection site
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness or fainting (most common in adolescents)
  • Fever
  • Mild rash

Parents should keep an eye out for any unusual condition, such as a high fever, weakness, or behavior changes. Signs of a serious allergic reaction can include difficulty breathing, hoarseness or wheezing, hives, paleness, weakness, a fast heartbeat or dizziness. In the unlikely case that your child experiences signs of allergic reaction or a side effect, you should contact your doctor immediately.

While serious side effects are rare, parents are encouraged to report any severe side effects to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) which serves to report, analyze and make incidences of adverse side effects available to the public.

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