Vaccines and flu shots generally are considered safe by health officials. However, like any medication, a vaccine or flu shot can cause side effects, notes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is possible for your toddler to have pain walking after receiving a shot. If this occurs, tell your doctor when your child received her shot and when she started having pain walking, as well as any other symptoms that appeared.
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Shots given to toddlers frequently are administered in the leg, including the DTaP shot. This combination shot protects against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. One possible side effect is a sore leg where the shot is administered, with one in four children generally having this problem, according to the CDC. This issue is more common following the fourth and fifth doses of this vaccine. This shot is recommended at ages 2 months, 4 months, 6 months and 15 to 18 months. It’s also given between ages 4 and 6. About one child in 30 will experience swelling of the entire leg in which the shot was administered following the fourth or fifth dose, according to the CDC. This may last for one to seven days. Tiredness is another possible side effect that can contribute to reluctance to walk following a DTaP shot.
Joint pain and short-term arthritis are possible but uncommon side effects following a rubella vaccination. The rubella vaccination usually is included in a toddler’s MMR vaccine, which also protects against the mumps and measles. The arthritic side effect occurs only if your toddler is susceptible to rubella at the time she is vaccinated. Also, joint pain is uncommon among children and men and more common among women. Symptoms usually occur one to three weeks after the vaccination and last for one day to three weeks. These symptoms rarely recur, according to the Immunization Action Coalition website, which is partly supported by a grant from the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. The MMR vaccine is recommended when your child is 12 to 15 months.
Flu shots are recommended for children each year beginning at 6 months. The flu shot can cause muscle aches as well as soreness where the shot is given, such as in your toddler’s leg. You also may see redness or swelling where the shot was administered. One person out of 1 million may develop Guillain-Barré syndrome. This illness causes muscle weakness, nerve damage and fever.
Other shots may cause soreness in the area where they are given, including the hepatitis B shot. The shot causes this side effect in one in four children, according to the CDC. This shot is given at birth, 1 to 2 months and 6 to 18 months. The hepatitis A shot is given when your child is 12 to 23 months of age. It causes soreness where the shot is given in one out of six children. The varicella, or chicken pox, vaccine is recommended at 12 to 15 months. This shot leaves one in five toddlers sore at the shot site. The PCV shot, recommended at ages 2 months, 4 months, 6 months and 12 to 15 months, causes tenderness where the shot is given in one in three toddlers. It causes drowsiness in about half of the children who receive the shot, according to the CDC.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Vaccines
- Immunization Action Coalition: Ask The Experts -- Measles, Mumps and Rubella
- Family Doctor: Childhood Vaccines
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: 2011 Recommended Immunizations for Children from Birth Through 6 years Old
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Seasonal Flu Shot