Vaccines to Prevent Chickenpox: MMRV Vaccine

To prevent chickenpox a combination of vaccine is available for Measles, Mumps, Rubella & Varicella known as MMRV Vaccine.

Updated: December 4, 2017

To prevent chickenpox a combination of vaccine is available for Measles, Mumps, Rubella & Varicella known as MMRV Vaccine.
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. All of these can be serious and life threatening.
Measles causes rash, cough, runny nose, eye irritation, fever which can lead to ear infection, pneumonia, seizures, brain damage, and even death.
Mumps causes fever, headache, swollen glands and can lead to  deafness, infection of the brain and spinal cord covering known as meningitis, infection of the pancreas, painful swelling of the testicles or ovaries, and rarely death.
Rubella is German measles which can cause  rash, mild fever and arthritis in women. While pregnancy, if a woman gets rubella, she could have a miscarriage or give birth to a baby with serious birth defects.
Varicella  or chickenpox causes rash, itching, fever, tiredness which can lead to  severe skin infection, scars, pneumonia, brain damage, or death. A person who has had chickenpox can get a painful rash called shingles years later.
All of these disease are very contagious and spreads easily from infected people. These can spread from either a cough or a sneeze with the virus particle in air. Chickenpox can also spread by contact with virus particles that come from the blisters on the skin, either by touching them or by breathing in virus particles.

MMRV Vaccine:

Children from 1 through 12 years of age can get this vaccine to protect them from these four diseases. There are 2 recommended doses of MMRV vaccine .The first dose can be given at the age of 15 months to 12 years and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age.
With in 3 months of interval both the doses can be given up to 12 years of age.
Children may also get these vaccines as 2 separate shots. The first shot is MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) and the second one is varicella vaccines. These two separate shots of MMR and varicella vaccines should be given on the same day. This will reduce the risk of fevers and fever-related seizures.
Anyone aged 13 or older who needs protection from these diseases should get MMR and varicella vaccines as separate shots. MMRV may be given at the same time as other vaccines.

Things and condition taken to be consideration before taking MMVR vaccine:

Children should not get MMRV vaccine if they:

  • Have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to a previous dose of MMRV vaccine, or to either MMR or varicella vaccine.
  • Have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine, including gelatin or the antibiotic neomycin.
  • Are being treated with drugs that affect the immune system, including high doses of oral steroids for 2 weeks or longer.
  • Are being treated for cancer with radiation or drugs
  • Have any kind of cancer
  • Have HIV/AIDS, or another disease that affects the immune system.

Check with your doctor if the child:

  • Has a history or family history of seizures
  • Has ever had a low platelet count, or another blood disorder.
  • Recently had a transfusion or received other blood products.
  • Has a family history of immune system problems.
  • Children who are moderately or severely ill at the time the shot is scheduled should wait until they recover before getting MMRV vaccine.

Risks from MMRV vaccine:

A vaccine can cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. Reactions are usually more likely after the first dose than the second one. The risk include:

  • Soreness or swelling where the shot was given
  • Mild rash, up to a month after vaccination
  • Fever
  • Swelling of glands in the cheeks or neck which is rare
  • Temporary low platelet count, which can cause a bleeding disorder
  • Seizure caused by fever

Some of the very rare serious problems include:

  •     Deafness.
  •     Long-term seizures, coma, lowered consciousness.
  •     Permanent brain damage.
  •     severe allergic reactions

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.


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