Small Talk #14: Is it safe to vaccinate?

Vaccinations – are they safe?

 baby being vaccinated

Should you or shouldn’t you?

As a starting point, let me ask you, did you know that between 2 and 3 million deaths are prevented world-wide each year by effective immunization? And did you also know that the claim of vaccines ( in particular the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine) causing autism has since been retracted as there is NO proof to link autism to the vaccine?

So, maybe after all, there shouldn’t be any hesitation in having your child vaccinated?

7 vaccines and their possible side effects

should you vaccinate your baby?

Here are 7 of the vaccines that are scheduled for our babies/toddlers in South Africa and their possible side-effects.

Rotavirus vaccine (RV) – fussiness and some babies may have mild, temporary diarrhea or vomiting

Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis vaccine (DTaP) – tenderness, swelling, or redness at site of injection, fever and/or loss of appetite within 2 days after receiving the shot

Haemophilus Influenzae Type B vaccine (Hib) – tenderness, swelling or redness at site of the injection.

Hepatitis B vaccine (HepB) – brief soreness and fussiness

Polio vaccine – tenderness, swelling or redness at site of the injection, low fever, joint pain and body aches, drowsiness, mild fussiness, vomiting

Measles, Mumps, Rubella vaccine (MMR) – tenderness, swelling or redness at site of the injection, fever, rash, headache, joint or muscle pain, vomiting

BCG vaccine (for TB immunization) – raised blister at site of injection immediately after receiving the shot. Totally normal. Leaves a small scar.

Pneumococcal vaccine (PCV7) – mild redness, swelling or tenderness where shot was given, weakness, crying, fussiness, drowsiness,restless sleep, low fever, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite or a mild skin rash.

So what should you do?

If one looks at the above possible side effects and weighs them up against the severity of the disease against which the vaccine is preventing your child from succumbing to, I think the choice of whether to vaccinate or not is a no-brainer! Especially when you bear in mind that most babies and toddlers actually sail through their vaccinations with few, if any, side effects. Those who do experience some side effects usually recover quickly and it is only a day or two of discomfort for them.

That said,it is important to note that you should NOT to take your baby for his scheduled vaccination if he is ill. Even with a mild cold. Postpone the immunization until he has recovered from whatever illness he may have had.

 Read reliable articles

I can only encourage parents who have reservations about whether to vaccinate or not, to read up articles from reliable sources (not just those authors out to make a name for themselves, even if the information they give is not accurate!)  on the available vaccines and the effects of the diseases they immunize against before they make their choice. Talk to your baby’s doctor and ask any questions you may have.

Personally, I would rather deal with a few mild side effects from the vaccines in my children and protect them from the paralysis of polio or the dreadful long  term effect which hepatitis has on the liver, to mention but two diseases, both of which would affect them for the rest of their lives!

What do YOU think? Let me know by emailing me at or commenting in the block below. I’d love to hear from you!

Yours in newborn photography






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