What is the MMR vaccine?
The MMR vaccine protects you against three contagious viral diseases called Measles, Mumps, and Rubella. This vaccine contains an active immunizing agent that causes your body to make a protein called an antibody against these viral diseases. In this way, the body will gain long-term immunity against these diseases.
Signs appear 10 to 14 days after exposure to the Measles virus and go away within 7 to 10 days without causing severe problems. But in some people, it can lead to serious complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis (brain damage).
This infection is easily transmitted by the mouth or nose droplets of infected people during coughing and sneezing, and its symptoms are:
- runny nose
- Sore throat
- Inflammation of the eyes (a condition called conjunctivitis)
- Greyish-white spots that appear on the cheeks
- Skin rashes
This viral infection affects the salivary glands near the ear and causes its inflammation. Inhalation of saliva droplets released by infected people leads to disease transmission. Symptoms of Mumps include:
- Pain and inflammation in the salivary glands on both sides of the face
- Pain while swallowing or chewing
- joint’s pain
- Weakness and loss of appetite
Unfortunately, there is no cure for Mumps disease, but patients do not experience a serious complication in most cases. In rare cases, this infectious disease can lead to problems such as meningitis, swollen testicles, or ovaries, and deafness.
Although some symptoms of Rubella are similar to Measles (for example, red rashes), you should know that the two diseases are different. This infectious disease is also transmitted through coughing and sneezing. The symptoms of this infection appear two to three weeks after exposure to the virus and disappear within one to five days. Symptoms of this infection include:
- Fever and headache
- Runny nose
- Redness of the eyes
- Swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck and behind the ears
- Red rashes that appear on the face, trunk, arms, and legs
- Aching joints such as fingers, wrists, and knees
Rubella is usually a mild infection and, in rare cases, can lead to ear infections or inflammation of the brain. Rubella can also lead to serious birth defects or miscarriage if a pregnant woman gets infected.
Who should get the MMR vaccine?
According to the CDC recommendations, the following people should receive the MMR vaccine:
- Children: All children should receive the MMR vaccine in two doses. The first dose should be injected at 12 to 15 months of age, and the next one should be given at 4 to 6 years of age.
Before the age of one, the baby has antibodies passed on from the mother at birth. These antibodies reduce the effectiveness of the MMR vaccine. Therefore, the MMR vaccine should not be given to newborns.Newborns over six months old are sometimes needed this vaccine earlier if:
- They may have been exposed to the measles virus
- There is an outbreak of measles
- They are going to a place where measles is common
The two usual doses of MMR will still be needed when they’re older to ensure full protection.
- Students: Students in high school should receive two doses of this vaccine if they are not immune to these diseases. The interval between the first and second vaccines should be at least 28 days.
- Adults: Adults who have not previously acquired the necessary immunity should receive at least one dose of the MMR vaccine. People who are high risk should take two doses 28 days apart.
- Women of childbearing age: These people can talk to their physician about getting an MMR vaccine before trying to conceive. Also, note that injecting the MMR vaccine during breastfeeding does not cause any problems.
- International travelers
- Healthcare staff
MMR vaccination and pregnancy
Although evidence has shown that the MMR vaccine does not harm the fetus, it is not recommended during pregnancy. You should also avoid becoming pregnant one month after vaccination.
Who should not get the MMR vaccine?
These groups should consult their physician before receiving the vaccine:
- People with severe and deadly allergies
- People who are planning to get pregnant
- People who suffer from diseases that disrupt the immune system, such as HIV
- People undergoing chemotherapy, radiotherapy or steroid therapy
- People taking immunosuppressive drugs
- People who have a family history in immune system diseases
- People who simply bleed and bruise
- People who have recently received blood products (it is recommended to postpone getting the MMR vaccine for at least three months or more)
- People who have received a live vaccine in the last four months
- People with cold symptoms should delay getting the vaccine
The effectiveness of the MMR vaccine
Evidence shows that the MMR vaccine is very effective. After receiving two doses of the vaccine, 99% of people become immune against measles and rubella, and the immunity of this vaccine against mumps is about 88%.
People may catch mumps after vaccination, but serious complications are unlikely to occur or are less likely to be admitted to the hospital.
What are the side effects of the MMR vaccine?
All medications, including vaccines, can cause unwanted side effects. If any of these signs occurred after receiving this vaccine, contact your doctor immediately:
- Difficulty breathing
- Itching especially in the hands and feet
- Redness of your skin, particularly around the ears
- Swelling of the eyes, nose, face
- Sudden and severe fatigue and weakness
The following symptoms are rare:
- Bruises on the skin
- Testicular swelling and scrotum
- Two noses
- Pain or numbness in the lower limbs, hands, and arms
- You should not become pregnant for up to three months after receiving the vaccine as there is a risk of birth defects.
- If you have received other live vaccines, wait at least one month before getting the MMR vaccine.
- If you get gamma globulin or other globulins within two weeks of the vaccine injection, be sure to tell your doctor.
- Tell your doctor if you receive blood products within two weeks of taking the vaccine.
- If you have a TB skin test within eight weeks of receiving the vaccine, tell your doctor as the vaccine can affect the test results.
Southern Nevada Occupational Health Center (SNOHC) has been providing vaccination services for more than 10 years. Specialists here will diagnose and inject the MMR vaccines if needed. For more information about the services provided in this center, you can refer to the website menue.
Frequently Asked Questions about MMR Vaccine
What does MMR stand for?
This vaccine is effective against measles, mumps, and rubella. It contains an active immunizing agent that causes your body to make antibodies against these diseases.
Who should get the MMR vaccine?
According to the CDC recommendations, children, students, adults, women of childbearing age, international travelers, and the Healthcare staff should receive the MMR vaccine.
What are the risks of MMR vaccine?
Side effects of this vaccine include pain, fever, mild rash, and muscle aches.