All medicines have side effects. However, vaccines are among the safest and the benefits of vaccinations far outweigh the risk of side effects.
Having a vaccination is much safer than not having one. They're not 100% effective in every child, but they're the best defence against the epidemics that used to kill or permanently disable millions of children and adults.
When you're considering a vaccination for yourself or your child, it's natural to focus on the potential side effects. But a better approach is to try to balance the benefits of having a vaccine against the chances of harm. Further information about the benefits and side effects of vaccinations can be found on the NHS website.
Specific information about side effects of vaccines and medicines can be found via pharmaceutical company websites or patient information leaflet. If you do not have the patient information leaflet, you can view one via the electronic Medicines Compendium (eMC).
If you think that you or someone you are with may be having a serious allergic reaction to a medicine, phone 999 and ask for immediate medical help.
Contact your GP or pharmacist immediately if:
- you think you have a side effect that is listed as severe in your medicine's patient information leaflet (PIL)
- you have a side effect you think is serious
You don't need to see your GP with mild side effects, such as nausea, if you feel you can manage these on your own. Your pharmacist should also be able to tell you if the side effects need further investigation by your GP.
If you have questions or concerns before a vaccination, speak to your GP or health professional.