The most common rubella vaccine side effects are fever and a mild rash. There are also reports of severe side effects like seizures, thrombocytopenia, allergic reactions, and even death.
The only rubella vaccine on the market in the United States is a combination vaccine called M-M-R-II® (Measles-Mumps-Rubella Live Virus Vaccine) that is manufactured by Merck & Co. This immunization is also known as the MMR vaccine.
Two doses of the M-M-R II vaccine against rubella are recommended for children, with the first dose between the ages of 12-15 months and the second dose between 4-6 years old. The vaccine is given as an injection (shot) in the upper arm or thigh.
The rubella vaccine is a live attenuated vaccine, which means it contains a live rubella virus that is much weaker than normal. Some children develop a mild illness similar to rubella, with symptoms like fever, skin rash, and feeling sick for a few days.
- Injection-site pain, redness, swelling, or lump
- Skin rash
- Joint or muscle pain (mostly teenagers and adults)
- Nausea or vomiting
Tell your doctor if you develop severe side effects of the rubella vaccine, such as a high fever, easy bruising or bleeding, mental or mood changes (such as confusion).
About 1 in 3,000 children who get the MMR vaccine develop a high fever that causes a seizure, also known as a febrile seizure.
About 1 in 30,000 children who get the MMR vaccine develop thrombocytopenia, a temporary condition that causes low blood platelet count, abnormal bruising and bleeding under the skin.
Less than 1 in 1,000,000 children who get the MMR vaccine develop a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.
There are reports of children who suffered deafness, coma, deceased consciousness, or long-term seizure disorders after receiving the rubella vaccine. These side effects are so rare that it is unknown if they were caused by the vaccine.
The M-M-R II vaccine has been linked to reports of the following side effects:
- Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM)
- Allergic reaction
- Atypical rubella
- 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)
- Rubella inclusion body encephalitis (MIBE)
- Neurological disorders
- Ocular palsies
- Optic neuritis
- Pneumonia and pneumonitis
- Rash (rubella-like rash)
- Sore throat
- Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS)
- Syncope (fainting)
- Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE)
- Transverse myelitis