Category: Vaccine Side Effects

Is This a Horrible Vaccine Reaction?

Why do some parents stop vaccinating and protecting their kids?

Many folks would describe what is going on in this video by Paul Thomas as horrible, everything except the common vaccine reaction.
Many folks would describe what is going on in this video by Paul Thomas as horrible, everything except the common vaccine reaction.

Sometimes it is because their pediatrician tells them to…

Is This a Horrible Vaccine Reaction?

Let’s take a look at Paul Thomas‘ “horrible vaccine reaction.”

This large, local reaction is not an allergic reaction to the vaccine.
This large, local reaction is not an allergic reaction to the vaccine.

Many of you are probably wondering, why did this young lady get a Tdap vaccine, which isn’t given to children under age 7 years?

And why did she get it in her leg?

For children between the ages of 3 to 10 years old, IM shots are now typically given in the deltoid muscle of the child’s upper arm. The anterolateral thigh muscle remains an option, although that is not where Dr. Paul is pointing...
For children between the ages of 3 to 10 years old, IM shots are typically given in the deltoid muscle of the child’s upper arm. The anterolateral thigh muscle remains an option, although that is not where Dr. Paul is pointing…

Especially that part of her leg???

Hopefully you are also wondering why Paul Thomas is making such a big deal about what looks like a relatively common vaccine reaction.

“Sometimes the 4th or 5th dose of DTaP vaccine is followed by swelling of the entire arm or leg in which the shot was given, lasting 1–7 days (up to about 1 child in 30).”

DTaP Vaccine Vaccine Information Statement

After all, although it is scary looking, this is a vaccine reaction that will go away without treatment, except maybe symptomatic care (cool compresses and pain medicines), and has no lasting effects.

“And I would not do this same vaccine again, because once you have had a large local reaction like this, you would be at greater risk for a really bad reaction.”

Paul Thomas on the Horrible Vaccine Reaction!

It is not an allergic reaction.

It is not caused by aluminum.

And it is a vaccine reaction that is typically not considered a contraindication to getting another dose, especially as skipping future doses of DTaP or Tdap would leave the child at risk to get tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis.

What to Know About Large Local Vaccine Reactions

Large local reactions to vaccines, although sometimes scary looking, are not dangerous, do go away, and are not a reason your pediatrician should typically tell you to skip or delay your child’s vaccines.

More on Vaccine Reactions

How Long Do Side Effects of Immunizations Last?

Immunizations are safe, but they can have some risks and side effects.

Vaccine side effects can be reported to VAERS online or using a downloadable form.
Vaccine adverse events can be reported to VAERS online or using a downloadable form.

Fortunately, most are fairly mild, like pain and fever.

How Long Do Side Effects of Immunizations Last?

And most vaccine side effects go away quickly.

For example, fever and fussiness, two of the most common vaccine reactions, typically only lasts a day or two.

Others can last a little longer, but still usually go away on their own:

  • when kids get a rash after their MMR vaccine, it might last three or four days
  • even when kids get swelling of an entire arm or leg after the DTaP shot is given, it might last for 1–7 days
  • pain at the injection site typically only lasts a few days
  • shoulder injury related to vaccine administration (SIRVA) can last months and sometimes doesn’t go away
  • arthritis after a rubella containing vaccine, which mostly occurs in adults, typically only lasts a few days
  • febrile seizures are usually brief and rarely lead to non-febrile seizures
  • immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) after a measles containing vaccine resolves in two weeks to six months, typically without any treatment
  • intussusception after a rotavirus vaccine resolves with treatment, either an air contrast enema or surgery
  • Guillain-Barré Syndrome after a seasonal flu vaccine, which is very rare, resolves in the majority of people over a period of years

Do any have more long lasting effects?

VAPP or vaccine-associated paralytic polio after the oral polio vaccine might not resolve. Fortunately, it only occurs in about 1 in every 1.27 million children receiving their first dose of OPV. It is even less common after bOPV, which is oral polio vaccine that is now being used. And won’t happen at all once we stop using oral polio vaccines.

Encephalitis or encephalopathy after a pertussis or a measles, mumps, and rubella virus containing vaccine might also lead to long lasting effects.

And some, like anaphylaxis, are life-threatening.

Fortunately, most long-term vaccine studies have shown that immunizations are safe, rarely causing severe reactions, and don’t have many long term side effects.

What to Know About How Long Immunization Side Effects Last

Most vaccine side effects are mild and only last a few days.

More on Immunization Side Effects

What is SIRVA?

Vaccines are safe.

Of course, they aren’t 100% safe.

One possible problem though, SIRVA, isn’t necessarily caused by the vaccine itself, but how it is given.

Or more precisely, where it is given.

What is SIRVA?

SIRVA is an acronym for shoulder injury related to vaccine administration.

It can occur when a vaccine is injected into the underlying bursa of the shoulder joint, instead of the deltoid muscle, causing shoulder pain and limited range of motion.

“These symptoms are thought to occur as a result of unintended injection of vaccine antigen or trauma from the needle into and around the underlying bursa of the shoulder resulting in an inflammatory reaction. SIRVA is caused by an injury to the musculoskeletal structures of the shoulder (e.g. tendons, ligaments, bursae, etc.). SIRVA is not a neurological injury and abnormalities on neurological examination or nerve conduction studies (NCS) and/or electromyographic (EMG) studies would not support SIRVA as a diagnosis (even if the condition causing the neurological abnormality is not known).”

Vaccine Injury Table

Why would someone want to give you a vaccine in the shoulder joint?

They shouldn’t!

In addition to giving shots in the correct location, to prevent SIRVA, it is also important to use the proper needle length.
In addition to giving shots in the correct location, to prevent SIRVA, it is also important to use the proper needle length.

In older kids and adults, intramuscular injections are typically given “in the central and thickest portion of the deltoid muscle – above the level of the armpit and approximately 2–3 fingerbreadths (~2″) below the acromion process.”

Giving the shot properly can prevent SIRVA.
Giving the shot properly can prevent SIRVA, keeping in mind that you might use a 5/8 inch needle in younger children.

If the shot is given in the shoulder joint, then it was given too high, typically in the upper 1/3 of the deltoid muscle.

Improved education will hopefully decrease SIRVA cases, but tell your doctor and report your case to VAERS if you think you developed SIRVA within 48 hours of getting a vaccine in your upper arm.

As a table injury, folks with SIRVA can also get compensated under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986.

More on SIRVA

Do Flu Vaccines Have More Reported Side Effects Than Other Vaccines?

Flu vaccines are safe, with few side effects.

Anti-vaccine propaganda scares people about flu shots.

So why do some people think that they are dangerous and have a lot of side effects?

Do Flu Vaccines Have More Reported Side Effects Than Other Vaccines?

Unlike most things anti-vaccine folks say, there is a hint of truth to the idea that flu vaccines have more reported side effects than other vaccines.

Why?

Just over 160 million doses of flu vaccine will be distributed in the United States this season.
Just over 160 million doses of flu vaccine will be distributed in the United States this season.

Since 2006, over 1.6 trillion doses of flu vaccine have been distributed in the United States, which equals about the combined total of all the other vaccines we use, including DTaP, rotavirus, hepatitis B, MMR, Tdap, and HPV, etc.

Overall, since we give so many more flu vaccines than any other vaccine, we can expect to get more reports of side effects from those flu vaccines.

That’s simple math.

On the other hand though, after getting a flu vaccine, you should not expect to have any extra side effects as compared to getting any other vaccine.

Remember, side effects from flu vaccines are generally mild and go away quickly. And more serious side effects are rare.

Get your flu vaccine and avoid getting the flu.

More on Flu Vaccine Reported Side Effects