MMR (Measles, Mumps, & Rubella) Vaccine: Vaccine to prevent Measles

Measles, mumps, and rubella are serious diseases. These diseases spread from person to person through the air. You can easily catch them by being around someone who is already infected.

Updated: August 16, 2020

It is important that children, especially infants and young children, receive recommended immunizations on time.  Vaccines also protect teenagers and adults to keep them healthy throughout their lives.
Measles, mumps, and rubella are serious diseases. These diseases spread from person to person through the air. You can easily catch them by being around someone who is already infected.
Measles is a contagious disease that is caused by a virus. Measles starts with a fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes, and sore throat. It is followed by a rash that spreads over the entire body. Measles virus is a highly contagious virus and spreads through the air through coughing and sneezing. It can lead to ear infection, pneumonia, seizures, brain damage, and even death.
Mumps virus causes fever, headache, muscle pain, loss of appetite, and swollen glands. It can lead to deafness, meningitis which is infection of the brain and spinal cord covering, painful swelling of the testicles or ovaries, and rarely sterility.
Rubella virus causes rash, arthritis mostly in women and mild fever. While she pregnancy if a woman gets rubella, she could have a miscarriage or her baby could be born with serious birth defects.
Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine can protect children and adults from all three of these diseases.

Vaccine to prevent Measles are of two types:

  • MMR that contains measles, mumps, and Rubella combination vaccines
  • MMRV that contains measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (chickenpox) combination vaccines

When and Who should get MMR vaccine?

Two doses of MMR vaccine should be given to children with the interval of 28 days. The first Dose should be given at the age of 12 to 15 months where as the second one at 4 to 6 years of age or may be earlier.
If the infants are traveling out of the country, they should should get a dose of MMR even if they are younger than 12 months. But this dose will not count toward their routine series.
Generally, anyone 18 years of age or older who was born after 1956 should get at least one dose of MMR vaccine, unless they have either been vaccinated or had all three diseases.
MMR vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines. Children between 1 and 12 years of age can get a MMRV vaccine which is a combination of MMR and varicella (chickenpox) vaccines.  

Things and conditions to be consider before getting MMR vaccine:

  • If you have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to the antibiotic neomycin, or any other component of MMR vaccine, should not get the vaccine. Speak to your doctor or the person giving you vaccine if you have any severe allergies.
  • If you had a life-threatening allergic reaction to a previous dose of MMR or MMRV vaccine should not get another dose.
  • If you are sick at the time the shot is scheduled may be advised to wait until you recover before getting MMR vaccine.
  • Pregnant women should not get MMR vaccine. Pregnant women who need the vaccine should wait until after giving birth to the baby. Until 4 weeks after vaccination with MMR vaccine, women should avoid getting pregnant.

Speak to your doctor if you:

  • have HIV/AIDS, or another disease that affects the immune system
  • are being treated with drugs that affect the immune system, such as steroids
  • have any kind of cancer
  • are being treated for cancer with radiation or drugs
  • have ever had a low platelet count (a blood disorder)
  • have gotten another vaccine within the past 4 weeks
  • have recently had a transfusion or received other blood products
Any of these condition might be a reason to not get the vaccine, or delay vaccination until you recover.

Risks from MMR Vaccine:

There are chances of side effects are usually mild and go away on their own. Serious reactions are also possible but are rare.
Some of the mild Problems following MMR vaccine include:
  • Fever
  • Mild rash
  • Swelling of glands in the cheeks or neck
If these problems occur, it is usually within 6 to 14 days after the shot. They occur less often after the second dose.

Some of the moderate problems include:

  • Seizure (jerking or staring) caused by fever
  • Temporary pain and stiffness in the joints, mostly in teenage or adult women
  • Temporary low platelet count, which can cause a bleeding disorder

Several severe problems have been reported after a child gets MMR vaccine, including:

  • Serious allergic reaction
  • Deafness
  • Long-term seizures, coma, or lowered consciousness
  • Permanent brain damage

Problems that could happen after any vaccine:

  • Sometimes people faint after vaccination. Sitting or lying down for about 15 minutes can help prevent fainting. If you feel dizzy, have vision changes or ringing in the ears, speak to your doctor.
  • In some cases severe pain in the shoulder and difficulty moving the arm where a shot was given could happen.
  • A severe allergic reaction would happen within a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination.
  • There is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a serious injury or death. The safety of vaccines is always being monitored. You can get all the information from Vaccine Safety site.
Signs of a severe allergic reaction can include hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, and weakness. These would start a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination. If you have severe allergic reaction, very high fever, or behavior changes , call 9-1-1 or find the nearest hospital.
The reaction should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) through the VAERS website or by calling 1-800-822-7967. VAERS is only for reporting reactions. They do not give medical advice.
If you are injured by a vaccine, you can file a claim in  National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) by calling 1-800-338-2382 or visiting the VICP website to get the compensation.

Learn more about Vaccine:

Your doctor can give you the vaccine package insert or suggest other sources of information.
You can call your local or state health department or can contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by:
        Calling 1-800-232-4636 (1-800-CDC-INFO)
        Visiting  CDC vaccines website



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