Updated January 2016
Vaccine Brands: MMR® II, Priorix®
The measles virus causes a fever, rash, cough, red eyes and a runny nose. The red rash starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. Measles complications include ear infections, pneumonia, miscarriage, an infection of the brain causing brain damage, and death. It is easily spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
The mumps virus causes a fever, headache and salivary gland swelling in the cheeks and jaw (parotitis). Complications include meningitis (infection in the lining of the brain), painful swelling of the testicles or the ovaries, deafness, or miscarriage. It is spread by contact with saliva of an infected person (e.g., sharing drinks, food or kissing) or their infected droplets through coughing, sneezing or even talking.
The rubella virus causes a fever, sore throat, swollen lymph glands in the neck and a rash on the face and neck. The symptoms can be absent or mild in children. Adults may have a headache, weakness, runny nose, red eyes and, rarely, swelling of the joints. Rubella can also cause encephalitis (swelling of the brain). Rubella is most dangerous in early pregnancy as it can cause miscarriage, stillbirth or severe birth defects such as cataracts, deafness, heart defects, and mental retardation known as congenital rubella syndrome. Rubella is spread through coughing or sneezing or from contact with the saliva of an infected person.
The MMR vaccine is made up of weakened, live viruses of measles, mumps, and rubella. One dose provides about 85 per cent protection and two doses over 95 per cent protection.
The most common side effects of the vaccine are redness, swelling and pain where the needle was given. Six to 23 days after vaccination, five out of 100 children will feel unwell, get a fever and may develop a measles-like rash which lasts up to three days. Some can develop temporary swelling of the glands in the neck, joint pain or muscle aches.
On rare occasions, immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) can occur within six weeks after vaccination; most children recover completely in three months without serious complications. Encephalitis has been reported in approximately one per million doses, much lower than that observed with natural measles disease (one per 1,000 cases). Risk of allergic reactions following immunization such as trouble breathing, rash, swelling in the throat and face may occur but are very rare (one per one million doses) and can be treated.
You should report any side effects or severe vaccine reactions to your health care provider.
You should not get the vaccine if: