side effects of the measles vaccine

Measles Vaccine Side Effects

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.

What are measles vaccine names?

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.

How is the vaccine given?

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.

Can the vaccine cause measles?

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.

What are common side effects of the measles vaccine?

  • Fever
  • Mild rash
  • Swelling of the glands in the cheeks
  • Temporary pain and stiffness in joints (mostly teenagers and adults)

What are severe side effects of the measles vaccine?

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.

What other side effects have been reported?

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
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Angioedema
  • Arthritis
  • Ataxia
  • Atypical measles
  • Bronchial spasm
  • Convulsions
  • Death
  • Deafness
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Ear infection (otitis meida)
  • Encephalitis
  • Encephalopathy
  • Epididymitis
  • Erythema multiforme
  • Facial swelling
  • Febrile seizures (high fever causing seizure)
  • Fever
  • Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS)
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Leukocytosis
  • Lymphadenopathy (enlarged lymph nodes)
  • Malaise
  • Measles inclusion body encephalitis (MIBE)
  • Meningitis
  • Nausea
  • Neurological disorders
  • Ocular palsies
  • Optic neuritis
  • Pancreatitis
  • Panniculitis
  • Papillitis
  • Paresthesia
  • Parotitis
  • Pneumonia and pneumonitis
  • Polyneuritis
  • Polyneuropathy
  • Purpura
  • Rash (measles-like rash)
  • Retinitis
  • Seizures
  • Sore throat
  • Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS)
  • Syncope (fainting)
  • Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE)
  • Thrombocytopenia
  • Transverse myelitis
  • Vasculitis
  • Vomiting

Where can I get more information?

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