Timely vaccination for babies is essential as it ensures adequate immunity against potentially life-threatening diseases. Vaccines are developed and issued for widespread use after extensive research on their safety and efficacy (1).
There are different types of vaccines, and most contain an inactive or weakened form of the pathogen or a toxin produced by it. These immunity-inducing factors are called antigens, which stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies, granting immunity (2).
Read this post to know the vaccines an infant will get in the second month, their possible side effects, and tips for managing those side effects.
Vaccines Scheduled For A Two-month-old Baby
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the following vaccines are given to babies at one to two months of age (3).
1. Hepatitis B(HepB) vaccine
- Hepatitis B is a contagious viral liver disease, which may cause extensive liver damage.
- The first dose of the HepB vaccine is given immediately after birth, the booster dose is given one or two months after birth, and the final dose is given anytime between six to 18 months.
- According to the CDC, the HepB vaccine is safe and effective against HepB infection.
- It may cause mild side effects such as a sore arm from the shot and low-grade fever (less than 101°F or 38.3°C) (4).
2. Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP) vaccine
- Infants are given five doses of DTaP.
- The first dose is given at the age of two months, followed by one booster dose each at five months, six months, 15 to18 months, and four to six years.
- Mild side effects of DTaP are redness, pain, or swelling of the injection site, fever, and vomiting.
- Severe but rare complications of vaccines are high-grade fever (over 105°F or 40°C), inconsolable crying for three hours or more, and seizures (5).
The following are the signs and modes of transmission of diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis.
- Diphtheria: Diptheria is a bacterial disease that can start with a sore throat, mild fever, and chills. It may also cause a coating in the back of the nose or the throat, making it difficult to breathe or swallow. The disease spreads through sneezing and coughing (6).
- Tetanus: Tetanus is caused by toxins produced by the tetanus bacteria found in soil, dust, and manure. The bacteria may enter the body through punctures, cuts, sores, burns, or animal bites. The toxins usually affect the muscles, causing stiffness and spasms. Severe cases may affect respiratory muscles, increasing the risk of respiratory muscles paralysis (7).
- Pertussis or whooping cough: Whooping cough is a respiratory infection caused by Bordetella pertussis It spreads through coughing and sneezing. The most notable sign of the illness is violent coughing with a whooping sound. Untreated cases may lead to severe pneumonia (8).
3. Pneumococcal disease vaccine (PCV13)
- Pneumococcal disease is caused by the pneumococcus bacteria that spread through coughing and sneezing.
- Pneumococcal disease affects the ears, lungs, blood, and brain.
- Common symptoms include high fever, cough, chest pain, and body pain.
- The disease may lead to severe complications, such as meningitis, if left untreated.
- The first dose of the vaccine is given at two months of age, followed by booster doses at the age of four months, six months, and between 12 and15 months.
- Side effects of the PCV13 vaccine are usually very mild. These may include fussiness, lethargy, loss of appetite, local reactions at the injection site (redness, swelling, or pain), fever, chills, or headache (9).
4. Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine
- Hib disease is a severe illness caused by the bacteria Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) bacteria.
- The bacteria usually affect the nervous system, causing meningitis. It causes symptoms such as high fever, headache, poor appetite, and vomiting.
- The first dose of the vaccine is given at two months, followed by booster doses at four months, six months, and between 12 and 15 months.
- Hib vaccine has very mild side effects such as fever and local reactions at the injection site (redness, swelling, or pain) (10).
5. Polio (IPV)
- Polio or poliomyelitis is a disabling disease caused by the poliovirus.
- The virus can infect the spinal cord and nerves, causing irreversible paralysis.
- It is a highly contagious disease that spreads through food and water contaminated with respiratory droplets or feces.
- The child gets one dose each at two months, four months, between six and 18 months, and between four and six years.
- Redness, swelling, and pain might occur at the injection site if the baby received the injectable variant of the vaccine (11). The oral polio vaccine causes no side effects.
6. Rotavirus (RV) vaccine
- Rotavirus infection causes severe diarrhea and vomiting accompanied by fever, stomach pain, and loss of appetite. The infection primarily affects infants.
- Severe dehydration is the leading complication of the disease and a common cause of fatality.
- There are two types of rotavirus vaccines, RotaTeq (RV5) and Rotarix (RV1).
- RV5 is given in three dosages at ages two months, four months, and six months.RV1 is given in two dosages at ages two months and four months.
- Rotavirus vaccines are given in the form of oral drops and not injections.
- Mild side effects include fussiness, diarrhea, and vomiting.
- A rare complication is intussusception, a condition where a section of the intestine folds on the adjacent part. It is estimated to occur in one out of 20,000 to 100,000 vaccinated babies (12).
Preparing A Two-month-old For Vaccine Shots
The following steps could help you comfort your baby before, during, and after vaccination (13).
- Pack the baby’s favorite toy, pacifier, or blanket to make them feel cozy and comfortable.
- Check with the pediatrician if they can give a safe sweet-tasting solution to your baby right before the vaccination. It can help distract the baby from pain and reduce crying.
- If possible, breastfeed the baby during the vaccine administration to soothe the baby and calm them down.
- You may check with the pediatrician if they can apply a pain-relieving ointment or spray before vaccine administration.
- You may distract the baby by singing their favorite songs or rhymes.
- You may also give them a pacifier to calm them down.
- You may swing and rock them in your arms immediately after vaccination. Another alternative is to distract them with something interesting.
- Cuddle them often after the vaccination. You may also breastfeed them immediately after vaccination to calm down the fussiness caused by the pain at the injection site.
Helping The Baby With Side Effects
Local reactions at the injection site such as pain, redness, or swelling are common and resolve within a day or two. Some babies may develop rashes and fever that usually stay for a day.
The following points will help you manage mild side effects at home (13).
- Ask the pediatrician about what side effects are expected and what is unusual.
- Use a cool, damp cloth to reduce local irritation, redness, swelling, or soreness.
- Use cool pads to reduce the fever.
- Ensure the baby gets adequate rest and does not exert themselves for up to three days after vaccination.
- Ask the doctor if they can prescribe a baby-safe pain reliever, including pain-relieving topical ointments.
- Check with your doctor if you suspect or notice anything unusual.
Vaccination is vital for your baby since it protects the little one against several life-threatening illnesses. Many parents are wary of vaccine side effects and may even consider avoiding vaccinations for their baby. However, vaccination side effects are extremely rare. The benefits of vaccinating your baby can significantly outweigh the risks. Remember, it is safer for your two-month-old to get vaccination than experiencing a vaccine-preventable disease, which may cause complications that last a lifetime.