Why Is Vaccination Against Measles Mumps And Rubella Important
Vaccination with the MMR vaccine is the best way to protect against measles, mumps and rubella. While these infections may be mild in some people, they can cause serious complications in others.
- Measles: The infection can be serious, with 1 in 10 needing to go to hospital. Complications include diarrhoea , ear infections , pneumonia and encephalitis , which can cause brain damage. Read more about measles.
- Mumps: The symptoms of mumps are usually mild, such as swollen salivary glands , headache and fever, but it can cause serious complications such as deafness, swollen testicles or ovaries, and meningitis. Read more about mumps.
- Rubella : This is usually a mild infection that gets better within about 710 days, but it becomes a serious concern if a pregnant woman catches the infection during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. This is because the rubella virus can affect the development of the baby and cause severe health problems such as eye problems, deafness, heart abnormalities and brain damage. Read more about rubella.
Measles, mumps and rubella are all easily spread from an infected person by coughing, sneezing or talking. They can be spread by face-to-face contact within a metre, or by touching an object infected from droplets, such as a used tissue or keyboard.
Who Should Get The Mmr Vaccine
MMR vaccine is funded for all children from 12 months of age and for adults born on/after 1 January 1969, who have not completed a 2-dose course of the MMR vaccine. It is part of the childhood immunisation schedule for children at 12 months and 15 months of age.
It is recommended that the second MMR dose be given on time at 15 months of age unless there is a high risk of exposure to these diseases, such as during an outbreak. In that case, the second MMR dose can be given as early as 4 weeks after the first MMR dose.
Who Should Have The Vaccine And How Many Doses Are Needed
Children get two doses of MMR vaccine. The first dose is given at 12-13 months in the UK schedule. The vaccine is not usually given earlier than this because studies have shown it does not work so well in children under 1 year of age. A booster dose is given at 3 years and 4 months at the same time as the Pre-school booster.
The MMR vaccine should not be given to people who are clinically immunosuppressed . This is because the weakened viruses in the vaccine could replicate too much and cause serious infection. This includes babies whose mothers have had immunosuppressive treatment while they were pregnant or breastfeeding. For more information see the MHRA’s Drug Safety Update .
There is a catch-up programme for children, teenagers and young adults who have missed out on the MMR vaccine. Anyone of any age who is not sure whether they have had two doses of measles, mumps and rubella vaccines can ask their GP for the MMR vaccine.
Because of measles outbreaks in Europe and elsewhere, all travellers are advised to check that they are up to date with MMR vaccination before they travel. If you are travelling with a baby, the MMR vaccine can be given from six months of age before travelling to a country where measles is a risk or where an outbreak is taking place. See the Travel Health Pro website for more information.
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Making Sure Vaccines Are Safe
Vaccines must be tested to make sure theyre safe and effective before being approved for use in Canada. Once a vaccine has been approved for use in Canada, its monitored for:
- effectiveness in people
Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada share the responsibility for ongoing safety monitoring, which also involves:
- provincial, territorial and local public health authorities
- health care professionals
Timing Of First Symptoms
Using a sophisticated movement analysis, videos from children eventually diagnosed with autism or not diagnosed with autism were coded and evaluated for their capacity to predict autism. Children who were eventually diagnosed with autism were predicted from movies taken in early infancy. This study supported the hypothesis that very subtle symptoms of autism are present in early infancy and argues strongly against vaccines as a cause of autism.
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Measles Mumps And Rubella Vaccine
Some people should not get MMR vaccine or should wait.
Tell your vaccine provider if the person getting the vaccine:
- Has any severe, life-threatening allergies. A person who has ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction after a dose of MMR vaccine, or has a severe allergy to any part of this vaccine, may be advised not to be vaccinated. Ask your health care provider if you want information about vaccine components.
- Is pregnant or thinks she might be pregnant. Pregnant women should wait to get MMR vaccine until after they are no longer pregnant. Women should avoid getting pregnant for at least 1 month after getting MMR vaccine.
- Has a weakened immune system due to disease or medical treatments .
- Has a parent, brother, or sister with a history of immune system problems.
- Has ever had a condition that makes them bruise or bleed easily.
- Has recently had a blood transfusion or received other blood products. You might be advised to postpone MMR vaccination for 3 months or more.
- Has tuberculosis.
- Has gotten any other vaccines in the past 4 weeks. Live vaccines given too close together might not work as well.
- Is not feeling well. A mild illness, such as a cold, is usually not a reason to postpone a vaccination. Someone who is moderately or severely ill should probably wait. Your doctor can advise you.
This information was taken directly from the MMR Vaccine information Statement dated 2/12/2018.
What Is The Mmr Vaccine
The MMR vaccine protects you against 3 viral infections measles, mumps and rubella. The vaccine is a live vaccine, which is made using the mumps, measles and rubella viruses that have been weakened . After vaccination, the weakened vaccine viruses replicate inside you. This means a very small dose of virus is given to activate your immune system.
Just one dose of MMR gives you a 95% chance of being protected against measles. The reason for a second dose is to make sure the 5% who need this second vaccine get immunity. Live attenuated vaccines do not usually cause problems in people who are healthy. If it does cause symptoms of the disease, it is milder than if you had caught the disease. There is no evidence that the MMR vaccine causes autism. Read more.
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The Mmr Vaccine And Autism
Many people confuse the controversy over the vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella with that of thimerosal, but the two have always been totally separate issues. In fact, MMR vaccines have never even contained thimerosal.
The link between MMR and autism gained traction following the publication of a very small British study published in a British medical journal, The Lancet. The study was lead by Dr. Andrew Wakefield and it concluded that children developed autism soon after they received the MMR vaccine. The theory: The measles portion of the shot causes inflammation and infection of the intestines, which can then spread dangerous proteins to the brain, causing damage that may lead to autism.
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What Are The Rates Of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Rates of autism are on the rise. However, rates may not be increasing solely because there are more cases of ASD they might also be increasing due to a broader definition and a better diagnosis of ASD. As the numbers of ASD increase, additional community resources need grow too, such as educational services and a coordinated response to families whose children have ASD.
The CDC has tracked data using the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network Sites. The goals of the ADDM Network are to:
- Describe the population of children with ASD
- Compare how common ASD is in different areas of the country
- Identify changes in ASD occurrence over time
- Understand the impact of ASD and related conditions in US communities
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Should Older Children Who Have Missed One Or Both Doses Of The Mmr Vaccine Still Have The Vaccine
Yes. A total of 2 doses of the MMR vaccine are recommended for all children and adults born after 1968. When 2 doses of MMR are required, they can be given a minimum of 4 weeks apart. Just 1 dose of MMR gives you a 95% chance of being protected against measles. The reason for a second dose is to make sure the 5% who need this second vaccine get immunity.
- Children vaccinated overseas: Children who have received a measles only or measles/rubella vaccine overseas still need MMR vaccination. Two doses of the MMR vaccine given from 12 months of age are recommended irrespective of previous measles or measles/rubella only vaccination.
- Children who have had measles: These children still need to receive the MMR vaccine. Two doses of MMR vaccine are recommended to protect the child from mumps and rubella.
Who Does Not Need Mmr Vaccine
You do not need measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine if you meet any of these criteria for presumptive evidence of immunity*:
- You have written documentation of adequate vaccination:
- at least one dose of a measles, mumps, and rubella virus-containing vaccine administered on or after the first birthday for preschool-age children and adults not at high risk for exposure and transmission
- two doses of measles and mumps virus-containing vaccine for school-age children and adults at high risk for exposure and transmission, including college students, healthcare personnel, international travelers, and groups at increased risk during outbreaks
If you do not have presumptive evidence of immunity against measles, mumps, and rubella, talk with your doctor about getting vaccinated. If youre unsure whether youve been vaccinated, you should first try to find your vaccination records. If you do not have written documentation of MMR vaccine, you should get vaccinated. The MMR vaccine is safe, and there is no harm in getting another dose if you may already be immune to measles, mumps, or rubella.
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Measles Outbreaks In The Uk And Europe
Between 2001 and 2013 there was a sharp rise in the number of UK measles cases, and three people died. Numbers of cases have fallen since 2013, but rates of measles are still higher than they were in the late 1990s and seem to be rising again in 2018. In 2018 there were 966 laboratory confirmed measles cases in England – nearly four times as many as the total number confirmed in 2017 . The majority of measles cases have been in people who are not vaccinated, especially young people aged 15 and over who missed out on MMR vaccination when they were younger. About 30% of those infected have been admitted to hospital.
At the moment most UK measles cases are linked to travel in Europe. Cases have also been linked to music festivals and other large public events. Public Health England is advising people to check that they are vaccinated against measles before they travel abroad or go to large public events in the UK or elsewhere.
What Started This Concern
A study published in The Lancet in 1998 stated incorrect findings over an association between the MMR vaccine and autism. Since this time, the majority of the authors and The Lancet have retracted the findings.
In the U.S., many legal cases were brought forth over a supposed link between autism and the MMR vaccine. However, according to the Omnibus Autism Proceeding, it was ruled that the MMR vaccine, either given alone or in conjunction with thimerosal-containing vaccines, was not a causal factor in the development of autism.
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Autism: How Childhood Vaccines Became Villains
That’s strange, thought Chadwick. For months he had been extracting genetic material from children’s gut biopsies, looking for evidence of measles from the MMR. That was the crucial first link in the chain of argument connecting the MMR to autism: the measles virus infects the gut, causing inflammation and leakage, then gut leakage lets neurotoxic compounds into the blood and brain. Yet Chadwick kept coming up empty-handed. “There were a few cases of false positives, essentially all the samples tested were negative,” he later told a judicial hearing. When he explained the negative results, he told NEWSWEEK, Wakefield “tended to shrug his shoulders. Even in lab meetings he would only talk about data that supported his hypothesis. Once he had his theory, he stuck to it no matter what.” Chadwick was more disappointed than upset, figuring little would come from the Lancet study. “Not many people thought would be taken that seriously,” Chadwick recalls. “We thought most people would see the Lancet paper for what it wasa very preliminary collection of case reports. How wrong we were.”
On Feb. 12 Special Master George Hastings Jr. announced his decision in the Cedillo case. Every study conducted to test Wakefield’s MMR hypothesis, he concluded, “found no evidence that the MMR vaccination is associated with autism.” And the evidence “falls far short” of showing a thimerosal connection.
Robust Postlicensure Vaccine Safety Monitoring Systems And Research Programs
Public confidence in vaccines is boosted by the existence of comprehensive and robust systems to evaluate the safety of vaccines and rapidly detect potential safety problems. The foundation of vaccine safety rests on evaluations that are conducted before a vaccine is ever licensed. Vaccines are extensively tested for safety and efficacy before licensure. Prelicensure clinical trials are effective at identifying and characterizing the most common adverse reactions . However, such trials are often not large enough to detect and characterize rare adverse events . Furthermore, the generalizability of safety results from clinical trials can be constrained by exclusion criteria that often omit individuals with chronic medical conditions.
Robust postlicensure safety monitoring and research is required to detect and assess new or unexpected safety concerns after vaccines have been licensed . These monitoring and research activities provide important data to regulators and public health officials to guide development and implementation of vaccination policies, to reassure health-care professionals and the public on the safety of vaccines, and to take action if vaccine safety problems are detected and confirmed .
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How Does The Mmr Vaccine Work
The MMR vaccine is a live vaccine made from weakened forms of each of the measles, mumps and rubella viruses. The vaccine stimulates your immune system to produce cells that respond to and remember the viruses. This means that if you come into contact with any of the three viruses in the future, your immune system will recognise the virus and act to prevent an infection.
More than 99 out of 100 people who have had the MMR vaccination will be completely protected against measles and rubella. Protection against mumps is slightly lower, but mumps is much less severe if youve had the vaccine.
If youve received two doses of the MMR vaccine, this is usually expected to protect you for life, and you wont need a booster dose.
Autism Groups: Decision A Victory
Sallie Bernard, co-founder of SafeMinds , is ecstatic about the decision. “We’re finally seeing the truth come out,” she tells WebMD. “We’ve gotten such incredible pushback, yet here is a case showing this connection quite clearly.
“Here is a case that really looked into the science, and behind this child’s case of autism, they have found a link between the child’s autism and the vaccines that she was given,” she says.
Bernard says she hopes the decision will spur re-investigation of the issue. “I think this will push more scientists and hopefully the NIH to really investigate the role of vaccines, the role of mercury, in autism, because this case is so compelling.”
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Where Can I Learn More About Autism And Vaccines
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , The American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Food and Drug Administration all have information on their websites detailing vaccine use and the risk of autism spectrum disorder .
Always ask any questions you may have of your pediatrician or other health care provider, too they will have the latest updates.
Autism Expert: Case Is Rare
A pediatrician who serves on a childhood vaccine advisory committee for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services sees the case differently. “To say mercury causes autism is a giant leap,” says Jaime Deville, MD, a pediatrician at Mattel Children’s Hospital at the University of California Los Angeles.
“Epidemiological studies do not support the hypothesis that mercury in vaccines causes autism in the general population,” he tells WebMD. “However, there might be individual sporadic, or rare cases in which patients have an adverse reaction after a dose of a vaccine that might exacerbate a pre-existing condition.”
That was the contention in Hannah’s case — that Hannah developed a disorder of the mitochondria, the cells’ “power sources,” before developing autism-like symptoms.
In a statement, Chuck Mohan, executive director and CEO of the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation, says science has not linked vaccines to mitochondrial disorders.
Deville worries that parents will again shy away from vaccines. “I would expect parents to start calling pediatricians,” he tells WebMD. But he adds that Hannah’s situation “seems to be an isolated case.”
He also points out: “Once mercury was removed in 2001, autism cases did not decline.”
He doubts that the decision will spur further research into the proposed vaccine-autism link, partly because of a lack of research funding.
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