The most common measles vaccine side effects are fever and a measles-like skin rash. Some children develop a mild measles illness or severe allergic reactions from MMR vaccines.
The only measles vaccine currently on the market is M-M-R II® (Measles-Mumps-Rubella Live Attenuated Virus Vaccine) manufactured by Merck & Co., also known as the MMR vaccine.
The measles vaccine is given to children in a series of two 0.5-mL injections (shots) in the upper arm or thigh. The first shot is recommended between the ages of 12-15 months. The second shot is recommended between the ages of 4-6 years old.
The measles vaccine is a live attenuated vaccine, which means it contains a live measles virus that is significantly weakened.
The measles vaccine commonly causes a measles-like skin rash. Some children get a very mild form of measles, including a rash, high temperature, loss of appetite, and feeling sick for 2-3 days.
- Mild rash
- Swelling of the glands in the cheeks
- Temporary pain and stiffness in joints (mostly teenagers and adults)
Febrile seizures (high fevers causing a seizure) are estimated to occur in 1 in every 3,000 children who get the MMR vaccine.
Approximately 1 out of 30,000 children could develop a temporary low platelet count, which could cause bruising or bleeding under the skin.
Fewer than one in 1 million children have a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) within a few hours of receiving the vaccine. Symptoms may include breathing problems, wheezing, hives, and a skin rash.
MMR vaccines are associated with reports of children who developed deafness, long-term seizure disorders, coma, lowered consciousness, or permanent brain damage. Seek medical attention immediately if you notice unusual behavior changes.
The following is a list of side effects that have been reported in patients who received a MMR vaccine, but so rarely that it is unknown if they were actually caused by the vaccine:
- Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM)
- Allergic reaction
- Atypical measles
- Bronchial spasm
- Diabetes mellitus
- Ear infection (otitis meida)
- Erythema multiforme
- Facial swelling
- Febrile seizures (high fever causing seizure)
- Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS)
- Lymphadenopathy (enlarged lymph nodes)
- Measles inclusion body encephalitis (MIBE)
- Neurological disorders
- Ocular palsies
- Optic neuritis
- Pneumonia and pneumonitis
- Rash (measles-like rash)
- Sore throat
- Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS)
- Syncope (fainting)
- Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE)
- Transverse myelitis