1. Health
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Your Baby Week Sixteen


Updated January 20, 2013

2 of 7

Reporting Vaccine Reactions

While vaccines are helpful, unfortunately, they can sometimes cause side effects.

These side effects are usually minor, such as fever, redness or swelling where the shot was given, or fussiness.

More rarely, vaccines can cause more moderate or severe reactions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these might include symptoms of an allergic reaction or "a high fever, behavior changes, or flu-like symptoms that occur 1 to 30 days after vaccination."

Reporting Vaccine Reactions

If you think that your child has had a moderate or severe reaction to a vaccine, you should call your pediatrician.

Next, either you or your pediatrician can report the reaction to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), a safety program jointly administered by the CDC and Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Thanks to VAERS, experts quickly found that children were more at risk for intussusception after receiving RotaShield, a rotavirus vaccine. VAERS was also used to figure out that the swine flu vaccine in 1993 did not cause an increase risk of Guillain-Barre syndrome.

VAERS has also been helpful in evaluating:

  • the DTaP versus DTP vaccines (the older DTP vaccine caused more side effects than the newer DTaP vaccine)
  • the IPV versus OPV vaccine (the oral polio vaccine could rarely cause vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis, while the inactivated polio vaccine, which is now used, does not)
  • the chicken pox vaccine
  • lot specific vaccine reactions
  • reports of intussusception with the RotaShield rotavirus vaccine

VAERS only works well if vaccine reactions are reported though. So be sure to ask your pediatrician to report any suspected vaccine reactions or do it yourself on the VAERS Web Submission.


CDC. Vaccines & Immunizations. Possible Side-effects from Vaccines.

MMWR: Surveillance for Safety Following Immunization: VAERS 1991-2001.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.