Are there any serious side effects I need to know about?

Serious side effects are very rare, but they can happen and some parents may want to know more about them before they vaccinate their children. 

If your baby doesn’t seem to be getting better, or you are worried about your baby, you can get help from:

  • your doctor
  • your nearest emergency department
  • or by calling Health Direct on 1800 022 222.


Febrile convulsions

About one in every 3,000 children experience fits or seizures known as ‘febrile convulsions’ after vaccination. Febrile convulsions are scary for parents to see, but children usually recover quickly without any long-term effects1. Febrile convulsions usually occur when a child’s temperature goes up very quickly, and then stop once their temperature stops rising.   


Around 59 in every million children who get the rotavirus vaccine experience a blockage of the intestine called an ‘intussusception’1. The blockage gives children strong bouts of pain in their tummies which can make them look pale, weak and very sick. They may vomit. Children who have signs of intussusception need to go to hospital quickly so they can get the help they need. Children who are treated for intussusception usually don’t have any long-term health problems.


‘Anaphylaxis’ is a severe allergic reaction to one of the vaccine ingredients. Less than one in every one million children who gets a vaccine has this reaction1. Anaphylaxis usually happens within a few minutes of vaccination, before you and your child leave the clinic. Your doctor or nurse knows what to do to help a child who is having an anaphylactic reaction recover quickly..


Around three to five children among every one million (1,000,000) children who get the MMR vaccine have a reaction that causes a condition called thrombocytopenia. Thrombocytopenia causes children to bruise or bleed very easily. It usually lasts for between one and six months and then gets better.



Australian Immunisation Handbook 10th Edition (Updated June 2015). Australian Government Department of Health: Canberra$File/Aus-Imm-Handbook.pdf