Ways to Help reduce Immunisation side-effects

Every country’s baby Vaccine regimes are a little different, dependent on the risk factors in that country. This is an overview explanation of some of the most common recommended, and how to reduce adverse reactions.

6-Weeks & 3-Months

  • DTaP-IPV (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis & Polio vaccine)
  • Hib-HepB (Haemophilus influenzae B & Hepatitis B vaccine)
  • MeNZB (Meningococal B vaccine)


  • DTaP-IPV (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis & Polio vaccine)
  • HepB (Hepatitis B vaccine)
  • MeNZB (Meningococal B vaccine)


  • MeNZB (Meningococal B vaccine)


  • Hib (Haemophilus influenzae B vaccine)
  • MMR (Measles, Mumps & Rubella vaccine)


In the final trimester, babies inherit initial immunity for diseases their mother has encountered, and this is boosted by breastfeeding. However it is a passive immune system that wanes over months, as the baby’s immune system develops its own active immunological memories.

A vaccine is an inoculation preparation of the partial, weakened or dead antigen (bacteria or virus), which is introduced into the body, to artificially trigger the immune system into producing antibodies and immunological memory, as a protection against the pathogen (disease-causing microorganism). Thus ideally, a vaccine provides the person with an active immunity against a specific disease.

Vaccinations themselves are not a guarantee of immunisation, because the efficiency of individual people’s unique immune systems varies. Vaccinations simply aim, like an insurance policy, to provide a significant reduction in the likelihood of a disease being contracted, or of the disease causing serious medical consequences. And to avoid children feeling like ‘pin-cushions’, multiple vaccines are combined into single injections.

PERTUSSIS (Whooping Cough)

A highly infectious disease characterized by three months of a violent dog-bark-like coughing. Complications include ear infection, pneumonia, vomiting, cyanosis – and in severe cases, lung damage, brain damage, convulsions, and death predominantly to the under one-year-olds (death is rare in over three year olds).


A serious disease, particularly for young children, usually due to respiratory inflammation causing suffocation. Other complications include heart damage, paralysis, renal failure, and death to more than one-in-twenty.


Tetanus spores can enter the body through the tiniest of cuts, then irreversibly bind to the central nervous system, shutting down the brain and spinal cord, causing numerous muscle related complications, and death to about one-in-ten.


Although almost eradicated from the planet, this highly infectious disease is easily imported and predominantly affects children, irreparably damaging the central nervous system, creating permanent crippling paralysis of the legs to half its victims, and death to about one-in-twenty.

HIB (Haemophilus Influenzae Type B)

Contrary to is name, Hib is not related to the flu virus, and its medical complications are multiple, typically resulting in permanent deafness, brain damage or death. Before 1994 when the vaccine was introduced it was the most common cause of life-threatening bacterial meningitis in NZ children under five (especially 6-11 month olds).


In 1985 it was found that 15 percent of NZ children had previous hepatitis B infection experience. Subsequently a vaccine was introduced, to prevent children ending up as long-term carriers with the high risk (about one-in-four) later developing liver disease. Unvaccinated children cause more vaccine-preventable deaths in NZ than any other virus except influenza.


A highly contagious disease, with unvaccinated children having a one-in-25 chance of pneumonia, and a one-in-2000 chance of brain inflammation, causing potential brain damage. Globally, measles is the most common vaccine-preventable cause of childhood deaths, especially in the under fours.


Previously common childhood disease with numerous complications, including viral meningitis, permanent deafness, and sterility in boys. From 1970-1991 NZ had epidemics every 3-4 years, and no epidemics since the vaccine was introduced in 1992.

RUBELLA (German Measles)

A mild disease, but if contracted by a woman in the early stages of pregnancy causes a 90 percent chance of severe fetal birth defects. Rubella vaccines used to be given to 11-year-old girls but this failed to stop the disease circulating, so it is now given younger and to both sexes, to protect unborn babies.


NZ has had an epidemic of one particular strain of this disease which caused about 90 percent of all meningococcal B disease, and 80 percent of meningococcal disease overall, with its common complications of meningitis and septicaemia. Meningococcal is especially serious in the under fives, because even with hospitalization, other serious complications can occur. Time will tell if this vaccine stays on the National Immunisation Register.



It is normal for a baby to have a little redness, pain or swelling at the injection site; to be grizzly, irritable, or drowsy; and/or to have a mild fever (say 37.5°C-38°C). These are usually all positive indications that his immune system is responding to the vaccine as it is meant to.

As a pro-active parent, there are specific recommendations you can follow, to also assist your baby:


  • Give children vitamin A after receiving the pertussis (whooping cough) and measles vaccines.
  • Give children a good dose of vitamin C before and after receiving all vaccines.
  • Except for very premature babies (say 28-weeks or 1kg), vaccines are designed to be administered by chronological age (birth date) not gestational age (due date) – as that relates to how long their immune system has been functioning outside the sterile womb.
  • If the baby is ill or sickly, delay vaccines until they are healthy – with the exception of the vaccine that includes whooping cough (pertussis) because this is such a nasty disease for a wee baby to experience.
  • If the baby has a fever (say 38°C or higher), delay vaccines as this is probably a sign that their immune system is already busy fighting an infection.
  • If you prefer, ask that injections be split up leaving a gap of a month or so between vaccines.
  • Visit a professional homeopath for tinctures to give the baby before and after vaccinations, to reduce the severity of any adverse reactions.
  • If your family has a history of immunological problems (eg allergies, previous vaccine reactions) or neurological problems (eg epilepsy, convulsions), then be particularly thorough in your investigative research.
  • After the MMR vaccine an uncontagious rash and high fever (say 39°C) may occur 5-10 days later, for which you can administer infant paracetamol.
  • Ask to receive the vaccine packaging insert so you can recognise adverse reactions if they occur. Do officially report any vaccine reaction.
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