Why should my child get the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine?
Measles, rubella and mumps are potentially serious diseases. Measles results in a sick child with a rush, red eyes, high fever, and cough. It has complications such as pneumonia, seizures, even death. Rubella is a similar, but milder disease. However, if a woman has not been vaccinated and gets it through pregnancy, there is a significant likelihood that she gives birth to a seriously ill child with congenital anomalies. Mumps causes swollen glands, fever, headache. It has complications, such as deafness, meningitis, swollen testicles. These illnesses are easily transferred by contact from person to person.
Which children should get the MMR vaccine?
The MMR vaccine is done in two doses. The first at 12-15 months of life. The second at 4-6 years. If the second dose is not administered then, it should definitely be administered at 11-12 years. It can be administered together with other vaccines.
Which children should not get the vaccine?
Rarely some children have a serious allergy to one of the components of the vaccine. Children with a moderate to severe illness, with or without fever, should get the vaccine after the passing of the illness. Pregnant women should not get the vaccine. Children with AIDS or other problems to the immune system of the organism should not get the vaccine. Children who have recently underwent blood transfusion should delay the vaccine.
Which are the risks from the MMR vaccine?
Every vaccine, like every medication, can cause serious reactions. These, however, are very rare. The vaccine is much safer than letting the child get the disease. Quite often there is fever and/or mild rush, 7-12 days after the shot. Other reactions can be swollen glands, seizures, low platelets, allergic reaction.
No causal relation has been found scientifically between the MMR vaccine and autism, Crohn’s disease or developmental delay.
If you are concerned for any reason, contact your paediatrician.
Stelios Papaventsis Paediatrician MRCPCH DCH IBCLC 2009