MMR stands for measles, mumps, and rubella. So basically, MMR vaccine is a sort of immunization vaccine which helps fight measles, mumps, and rubella. The vaccine is prepared by mixing the live attenuated viruses of all the 3 diseases. This vaccine is not administered orally but with an injection.
This vaccine was developed by Maurice Hilleman is sold by Serum Institute of India Tresivac. The first dosage of this vaccination is given in childhood around the age of a year and the second dosage is given at age of 4 or 5 years.
Composition and Nature of MMR Vaccine:
In the UK, the MMR vaccines are famous by the names of Priorix and MMRVaxPro, though the ingredients of both the vaccines are different. These vaccines contain active ingredients, sorbitol, recombinant human serum albumin, and polysorbate 80. There are traces of neomycin in both the vaccines. Neomycin is used to stop growth of the bacteria and it helps to save the vaccine from the contamination.
While there are MMR vaccines that may contain the gelatin derived from the pig, there are some that do not. To prepare the rubella strain for the MMR vaccines, human cell-lines are used. The strains for measles and mumps virus are grown on a culture. The culture essentially contains the chick embryo cells.
Uses of MMR Vaccine:
This vaccine is used around the world with an objective to bring down the number of cases of rubella, mumps, measles and congenital rubella syndrome. This vaccination dose is included in the plan of most of the Public Health Services around the world. Prevention of all of these diseases is the ultimate objective of this vaccination program.
MMR Vaccine Dosage:
Usually, 2 dosages of the MMR Vaccine are given throughout the world:
- First dose: From 12-15 months
- Second dose: From 4 to 6 years of age
It is always advisable that if any child is traveling abroad between the ages of 6 to 11 months, he/she should be given MMR vaccine dose before the start of the journey. Actually, the reason is, the child may temporarily be protected from the measles if the dose is given beforehand. But remember, the dose given between 6 to 11 months do not give permanent immunity. For long-lasting protection, both the doses should be given again.
The requirement of third dose depends on the individual’s condition. Some adults might be susceptible to mumps, measles or rubella without even knowing about this fact. So if there is some mumps situation outbreak, the dose of MMR vaccine might be recommended by the doctor.
Side Effects of MMR Vaccine:
The side effects are not so serious, but we cannot altogether reject the idea of side effects. Let us discuss some of the side effects by categorizing them according to the frequency of their occurrence or the severity.
MMR Vaccine Common side effects (not so serious):
- Swelling at the site of injection, pain or redness.
- Some days after the vaccination a child may get some high body temperature, rashes or loss of appetite. These symptoms appear when the vaccine starts to work and last for only 2-3 days.
- Mumps-like symptoms in 1 out of 50 children after a period of 3 weeks.
- Inflammation in joints for about 3 days.
MMR Vaccine Rare and rarest side effects:
- A small skin rash or bruise-like spot on the skin which develops after 6 weeks of vaccination.
Precautions and Warning Related to MMR Vaccine:
- As the vaccine is live attenuated, it is suggested and advised by the doctor to not to administer to the person who is clinically immunosuppressed. It is because the MMR vaccine can replicate and result in serious infection. So those babies, the mother of whom had immunosuppressive treatment during or just after the pregnancy, should not be vaccinated by the MMR vaccine for sure.
- After being immunized by the MMR Vaccine, a lady/woman should avoid immediate pregnancy. However, it is safe if you are still breastfeeding.
- If you are having chemotherapy, avoid MMR vaccination.
- If you are ill severely than also avoid MMR vaccination.
- If you are allergic to gelatin or neomycin MMR vaccination should be avoided.
How MMR Vaccine Works?
The vaccine triggers the immune system. This triggering of the immune system produces the antibodies against all of these three diseases. As the vaccine contains the weakened versions of the measles, mumps, and rubella, so as soon as a child comes in contact with any of these diseases, the immune system instantly identifies them and produces antibodies for fighting against them.
MMR Vaccine Interaction with other drugs:
It is a well-known fact that the interactions with the drug may change the medication performance and cause some serious side effects. Some products which interact very badly with this vaccine are: drugs that make the immune system weak, corticosteroids, immune globulin etc. It also interacts with the chemotherapy drugs.
Interference with some laboratory test is also found. This produces some false positive test result. Before taking the drug, make sure that your doctor knows that you are using this drug.
Substitute/Alternatives of MMR Vaccine:
There is no proper substitute for this vaccine. Some doctors and clinics administer injections for measles, rubella, and mumps separately. But the separate vaccines are found to be more risky. The time gap between the three dosages makes the children more vulnerable to the risk of mumps and measles. People often forget to bring their children for second and third vaccine shots. So this is quite risky.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
1) Is MMR Vaccine effective?
Ans: Yes, 1 dose is about 93% effective and two doses are about 97% effective to prevent measles.
2) Can a child allergic to eggs take this vaccination?
Ans: Yes, because the vaccine grows not on eggs but chick cells.
3) The protection from the MMR Vaccines lasts for how long?
Ans: For more than 20 years to expect.
4) Is there any need for another dose of MMR vaccination, in case, there is a measles outbreak?
Ans: If you have vaccinated your child with the MMR vaccine at the proper dosage time, you will not require it to give them again for sure. But in the areas of the measles outbreak, the gap between the dosages can be reduced.