What are the side effects of DPT vaccine?

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The DPT vaccine is given to children 5 times during the early years. The regular vaccination schedule is at the ages of 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15-18 months and 4-6 years old. The DPT vaccine works by protecting the child against diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus. Remember that these bacterial infections can be life-threatening. Just like with the other types of vaccines, the DPT vaccine can also cause certain side effects but most of these are usually mild in nature. By enrolling in a first aid course, you can learn ways to ease the symptoms as well as provide comfort.


Soreness of the injection site

The soreness that develops in the site where the vaccine was administered is one of the common side effects. This can be accompanied by swelling, redness or hardening of the spot where the shot was given. Take note that the soreness typically resolves within a week. The treatment for this side effect involves the application of warm soaks over the affected area to ease the discomfort. Regular movement of the affected limb can also ease the soreness as well. In some cases, a small-sized, hard nodule will develop for several weeks at the injection site. In some children, they can suffer from swelling of the leg or arm where the vaccine was given that can last up to a week.

Mild fever

DPT vaccine
In some children, they end up with mild fever 1-3 days after receiving the DPT vaccine.

In some children, they end up with mild fever 1-3 days after receiving the DPT vaccine. The fever can be accompanied by chills. This side effect can be managed by providing acetaminophen at the right dosage for the child. In most cases of mild fever, they usually resolve without any form of treatment. Just make sure that the fever is regularly checked to ensure that it stays mild.


Children who were given DPT vaccine can become fussy, irritable or cranky. They tend to cry and require frequent comforting. You can comfort the child by making sure that the environment is quiet and comfortable as well as providing frequent reassurance. The irritability typically resolves after a few days.


Some children react to the DPT vaccine by becoming drowsy or feeling sick. Take note that these children must be allowed to rest for a day or two and this side effect typically resolves after a few days. If there is unusual tiredness, a doctor should be consulted.


In some cases, the child can vomit 1-3 days after the DPT vaccine was administered. Take note that this might be an isolated case or it might last for 1-3 days. The child might lose his/her appetite and refuse to drink or eat for a short span of time. Encourage the intake of fluids once the vomiting has subsided and a doctor must be consulted if the vomiting is severe or persists for more than a day.

Uncommon reactions to the DPT vaccine

An allergic or hypersensitivity reaction to DPT vaccine is considered rare and typically occurs within a few hours after the vaccine was given. If this is the case, it would require immediate medical care since it can lead to shock and difficulty breathing. The early symptoms that are noticeable include hoarseness, hives, pale skin and weakness. The other rare side effects include seizure, high fever and inconsolable crying for several hours. Take note that these side effects require immediate medical attention.

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