PEDIATRIC ADVISOR: IMMUNIZATION - MEASLES, MUMPS and RUBELLA
Your child has just received an immunization to protect him/her against measles, mumps and rubella /German measles/. Although we cannot be 100% certain that all children vaccinated will be protected /since children vary in their response/ in most instances this vaccine will provide adequate protection against these infections.
It is possible that sometimes within the next month, usually within 7-12 days your child may experience a mild rash and/or fever. the rash will disappear within a few days and will not require any treatment.
Why get vaccinated?
Measles, mumps and rubella are serious diseases.
Measles virus causes rash, cough, runny nose, eye irritation, and fever. It can lead to ear infection, pneumonia, seizures, brain damage and death. Mumps virus causes fever, headache and swollen glands. It can lead to deafness, meningitis, painful swelling and demage of the testicles or ovaries and even death. Rubella virus causes rash, mild fever and joint inflammation. Miscarriages and birth defects are caused by rubella infection during pregnancy. These diseases spread from person to person by air, your child could catch these diseases by being around someone who has them. MMR / measles, mumps and rubella/ vaccine can prevent them.
Who should get MMR vaccine and when?
Children should get 2 doses of MMR vaccine. It is generally administered to children at the age of 15 months, with a second dose at 24 months of age. These are the recommended ages, but children can get the second dose at any age, as long as it is at least 28 days after the first dose.
Some adults should also get MMR vaccine, unless they can show that they had either vaccines or the diseases.
Some people should not get MMR vaccine or should wait:
People should not get MMR vaccine who have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to gelatin, the antibiotic neomycin, or previous dose of MMR vaccine.
People who are moderately or severely ill at the time the shot is scheduled should usually wait until they recover before getting MMR vaccine.
Pregnant women should wait to get MMR vaccine until after they have given birth. Women should avoid getting pregnant for 4 weeks after getting MMR vaccine.
Some people should check with their doctor about whether they should get MMR vaccine, including anyone who:
- has HIV/AIDS, or another disease that affects the immune system
- is being treated with drugs that affect the immune system, such as steroids, for 2 weks or longer
- has any kind of cancer
- is taking cancer treatment with X-rays or drugs
- has ever had a low platelete count / a blood disorder/
People who recently had a transfusion or were given other blood products should ask their doctor when they may get MMR vaccine.
Measles, mumps, rubella and related vaccines:
The MMR vaccine is sold as Priorix or Trivivac.
The MMRV vaccine combined MMR and varicella vaccine, has been proposed as a replacement for the MMR vaccine to simplify administration of the vaccines.
What are the risks from MMR vaccine?
A vaccine, like any medicine, is capable of causing serious problems, such as severe allergic reaction. The risk of MMR vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small. Getting MMR vaccine is much safer than getting any of these three diseases. Most people who get MMR vaccine do not have any problems with it.
- fever /up to 1 person out of 6/
- mild rash /about 1 person out of 20/
- swelling of glands in the cheeks or neck /rare/
If these problems ocur, it is usually within 7-12 days after the shot.
- seizure /jerking or staring/ caused by fever /about 1 out of 3,000 doses/
temporary pain and stiffness in the joints, mostly in teenage or adult women /up to 1 out of 4/
- temporary low platelet count, which can cause a bleeding disorder / about 1 out of 30,000 doses/
Severe problems /very rare/:
Serious allergic reaction /less than 1 out of a million doses/
Several other severe problems have been known to occur after a child gets MMR vaccine. But this happens so rarely, experts cannot be sure whether they are caused by the vaccine or not /incl. deafness, long-term seizures, coma, permanent brain demage/.
What if there is a moderate or severe reaction?
What should I look for?
Any unusual conditions, such as serious allergic reaction, high fever or behavior changes. Signs of a serious allergic reaction include difficulty breathing, hoarseness or wheezing, hives, paleness, weakness, a fast heart beat or dizziness within a few minutes to a few hours after the shot. A high fever or seizure, if it occurs, would happen 1 or 2 weeks after the shot.
What should I do?
Call a doctor or get the person to the doctor right away.