Ember’s First Pentavalent Vaccine

What Immunizations Are

Babies, in their first two years of life, are needed to have their immunizations completed to protect them from vaccine-preventable diseases. These diseases, when not prevented or treated, can be life-threatening. Immunizations are lifesavers and have been saving the lives of babies and children for the last 50 years.

Ember’s First Pentavalent Vaccine

Ember, my youngest, was scheduled for her Pentavalent Vaccine and Oral Polio last week, which is her second time to be vaccinated (her first vaccine was right after birth). I’ve always dreaded for that “pentavalent moment” because I’ve heard from other moms that this particular vaccine has the worst side effects of all vaccines. Magnus, my eldest, didn’t have pentavalent or the 6-in-1 vaccine because it was not available during his time so I didn’t witness the side effects first-hand. Let me share with you a little trivia about this vaccine.

What Pentavalent Vaccine Is

Because this is a 5-in-1 vaccine, all 5 individual vaccines are combined into one shot. These individual vaccines are for the prevention of:

  • Diphtheria – Diphtheria is a serious bacterial infection that causes the formation of a thick, gray coating in the mouth, nose, throat and airway.
  • Pertussis – Pertussis, also known as a “whooping cough”, is a highly contagious respiratory disease.
  • Tetanus – This infection is not contagious, but it is caused by a bacterium that enters an open wound that will then produce a toxin that would lead to stiffness of the muscles. This bacterium is commonly found in saliva or feces. An individual shot of this can cause muscle pain in the area of vaccination.
  • Haemophilus Influenza B – This is a bacterium that causes meningitis and acute respiratory infections, mostly in babies and children.
  • Hepatitis B – This a viral infection that affects the liver and can cause acute and chronic diseases.

Common Side Effects of Pentavalent

  • Fever
  • Pain and swelling in the injection area
  • Abnormal crying
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting

How Ember and I Fought

My 3 month-old daughter is usually an angel. Sure, she needs rocking every time for her to fall asleep, she needs my warmth to reassure her that she’s safe, but she is not a crier, unlike her older brother who screams his lungs out when he feels uncomfortable. But after this vaccination, she obviously feels threatened.

Immediately after her vaccination, I gave her paracetamol drops to prevent her fever. An hour after her shot, she seems fine and happy, almost too happy, because she was giggling loudly and kicking her legs out like nothing happened. She started yawning so I took her and rocked her for a few minutes and before I know it, she’s already sleeping soundly while leaning on me. So I lay her down gently on her bed to not wake her up. I left her with my mom so that I can attend to Magnus upstairs.

An hour passed and she woke up crying like someone has pinched her. I can even hear her from our bedroom. My mother cannot comfort her even though she’s rocking her and soothing her. Ember would NOT. STOP. CRYING. I took Magnus downstairs quickly so that I can go to Ember. I already knew that she’s feeling pain in her left thigh so I cuddled her and secured her legs tightly in my arms and rocked her. She stopped crying and eventually fell asleep. I was panicking the whole time because she doesn’t have breath-holding spells like what happened that day. She would also just sleep when I’m carrying her because she feels pain when her legs move. So I was carrying her the whole day just so she would get her much needed sleep especially because I woke her up very early in the morning for her immunization.

How She Recovered

The pain subsided at sunset, as I noticed that she’s not very irritable like before and she is already in her normal state (not crying like she’s being tortured). It was a first for us but it definitely was not a bad experience. I became aware of what would happen the next times (because there’s still Penta2 and Penta3), and I think by then, I can still handle her like I did the first time. Ember and I, thankfully, handled her immunization like a pro. 🙂


Meryl Ramirez

I am a part-time writer, but full-time mommy to 2 amazingly beautiful and high-strung babies. Being a mother has it's ups and downs, but seeing the smiles on your little ones' faces at the end of the day are enough to make you forget parenting even have downs. :)

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