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Mothers are always on the lookout to protect their little ones from pain and troubles. To safeguard children from the three deadly diseases – measles, mumps, and rubella – it is essential to go for the MMR Vaccine, also known as the mumps measles and rubella vaccine. There is also an option of MMRV vaccine, with an additional vaccination included for chicken pox. Availing this vaccination is the simplest and most effective way to protect your child from these serious ailments.
If you want to know everything about the MMR vaccine, then reading this post is a must for you!
What is the MMR Vaccine?
MMR or the mumps measles and rubella vaccine is a safe and effective way to prevent your children from all these three ailments. Measles, mumps and rubella are highly infectious ailments that can result in severe complications. Besides rashes, high fever, cough, headache, tiredness, and other related symptoms, they can also result in serious eye, ear, or stomach infections.
These three diseases are also damaging to the brain and can even lead to death in small children. If a pregnant woman falls ill with these conditions, it may also lead to a miscarriage. For these reasons, doctors suggest parents follow a strict MMR vaccine immunization schedule so that their kids stay protected from such ailments.
What are Measles, Mumps, and Rubella?
Measles is a viral infection that begins with a cough, fever, conjunctivitis, runny nose, and rashes on the face and body. If measles affects the lungs, it can also lead to pneumonia.
In older children, it can result in inflammation of the brain, known as encephalitis, and this can cause brain damage and seizures.
Mumps is an ailment caused by a virus and results in swelling of the glands right below the ears. Mumps is a common cause of meningitis and can even result in deafness.
In men, mumps can lead to an infection of the testicles and result in infertility.
Rubella, also called German measles, can cause mild rashes on the face, swelling of the glands behind the ears, mild fever, and swelling of the joints.
Most children recover fast from rubella, but if a pregnant woman catches rubella, it can lead to deafness, blindness, mental disorders, or even heart defects in the newborn baby.
Benefits of the MMR Vaccine
As parents, you should know how this vaccine is beneficial and important for your child.
The prominent MMR vaccine advantages are:
- It prevents children from three very severe ailments – Measles, Mumps, and Rubella. All these three ailments are infectious and can lead to severe complications in various body parts of your child
- Also, rather than exposing your child to pain from three different injections, a wise idea is to have this vaccine administered. The pain is temporary but they will be protected for the rest of their lives
According to worldwide reports, almost 2,00,000 children across the world develop measles every year and out of these, about 80 die. Therefore, vaccinating children against these life-threatening ailments becomes imperative.
So, what is the MMR vaccine immunization schedule that you need to follow? The schedule is mentioned below and is easy to follow.
Recommended Schedule for MMR Vaccine
- Schedule for Babies and Toddlers
As per healthcare organizations, the recommended MMR vaccine doses for children are two. The first dose must be given between 12 – 15 months of age, and the second dose must be given when the child is 4 – 6 years of age. Also, children can be given a second dose at least 28 days after the first dose.
This vaccine is given much later compared to other childhood vaccines. It is because the antibodies for these diseases are transferred from the mother to the baby. These antibodies offer protection to the baby till the baby is one year of age. After that, the effectiveness is reduced. For this reason, the first dose is suggested at one year of age for babies.
- Schedule for High School Children
Students in high school require two doses of MMR vaccine for immunity, with a gap of at least 28 days between the two doses.
- Schedule for Adults
Adults who have never been immunized with this vaccine can even get a single dose of the MMR vaccine.
- Schedule for Pregnant Women
The MMR vaccine immunization schedule for women of childbearing age is two doses with a gap of at least 28 days between the two doses. In case a woman has not taken the vaccination and gets pregnant then she must wait for the dose till her delivery. It is suggested to not take the dose during the time of pregnancy.
Also, the MMR vaccine is safe for breastfeeding mothers. It is because the vaccination does not interfere with the course of breastfeeding, and hence, the baby will not be affected.
Who Should Get the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) Vaccine?
On a general basis, anyone 18 years of age or more who was born after 1965 must get at least one dose of the MMR vaccine. The only exception is when a person can show records of having all the three diseases.
Who Should not Get the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) Vaccine?
- Pregnant women must not take the MMR vaccine as it might lead to some risks for the baby. Women planning a pregnancy must take the vaccination in advance.
- Those individuals having severe allergic reactions to gelatin or a medication known as neomycin must not take this vaccination. It can make the situation worse for them and result in a life-threatening allergic reaction.
- People suffering from HIV, any disorder of the immune system, cancer, or blood problems must not this vaccine as it affects the immune system.
- Those taking any steroids or other forms of drugs must not take this injection. This is because steroids and other drugs weaken the immune system.
MMR Vaccine & Risks
In almost every case, the benefits of MMR vaccine outweigh its risks. But since a single injection involves vaccines against three different ailments, it is possible that a few mild side effects might be experienced. Some of the common side effects of MMR vaccine are as follows:
- One out of 6 children may get a mild fever and one out of 20 children may develop mild rashes.
- It is possible that a child may develop swelling in his cheeks or his neck, but this is very rare.
- The mild side effects may last for a maximum of 14 days after getting the jab. Usually, a child gets such reactions after the first dose and the effects are reduced in the second dose.
- About 1 out of 1500 children may get a seizure. The good thing is that these seizures aren’t life-threatening.
- 1 out of 30,000 people may experience a temporary low platelet count after the first dose. This can result in slight bleeding, which gets cured over time.
- In some rare cases, a few children may develop a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine. If such a reaction occurs, then it is recommended to consult a doctor.
Does MMR Vaccine Cause Autism?
There is no scientific proof that MMR vaccines result in autism. The query about the possible relation between autism and MMR vaccine has been deeply reviewed and researched by independent teams of experts in the United States.
Even the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine confirms that the MMR vaccination does not cause autism. According to these reviews, it has been concluded that there is not even a causal link between MMR vaccine and autism.
A study that there might be a relationship between MMR vaccine and autism was made by a study by Andrew Wakefield in the UK. He and his team members conducted the study in 1998, and published the same in an article ‘The Lancet.’ This study claims that MMR vaccine can result in inflammatory bowel movements, brain damage, and allow harmful proteins to enter the bloodstream. However, the study does not confirm a link between MMR vaccine and autism.
Other studies could not produce any proof supporting that MMR vaccine can lead to autism. As a result, Wakefield was permanently banned from practicing medicine in the UK, and the article was revamped in 2010.
Hence, it is confirmed that there is no relation between MMR Vaccine and Autism.
MMR vaccines help protect children from some deadly childhood diseases. The multipurpose utility of the vaccine makes it a good choice for parents. The protection that is offered to kids against measles, mumps and rubella outweigh any side-effects that may be experienced after getting the vaccine.