Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) Vaccine (MMR II® or Priorix®)

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What is the MMR vaccine?

  • The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps, and rubella (German measles).
  • 2 doses of the vaccine are required by law for all children attending school in Ontario.

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What is measles (Red Measles)?

  • Measles is a serious viral infection that spreads very easily from person to person through coughing, sneezing and even talking.
  • It causes high fever, cough, rash, runny nose, and watery eyes, and can last for 1 - 2 weeks.
  • There is no treatment for measles.

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What is mumps?

  • Rubella is a viral infection that spreads easily by coughing, sneezing or talking with an infected person.
  • There is no treatment for rubella and while it’s usually mild in children it can be serious in women.
  • Rubella may cause fever, sore throat, swollen glands in the neck, and a rash on the face and neck.
  • If a woman gets rubella in the early part of a pregnancy, it is very likely that her baby in her womb will be severely affected, or even die.

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What is rubella (German Measles)?

  • Rubella is a viral infection that spreads easily by coughing, sneezing or talking with an infected person.
  • There is no treatment for rubella and while it’s usually mild in children it can be serious in women.
  • Rubella may cause fever, sore throat, swollen glands in the neck, and a rash on the face and neck.
  • If a woman gets rubella in the early part of a pregnancy, it is very likely that her baby in her womb will be severely affected, or even die.

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When should MMR vaccine be given?

  • The MMR vaccine should be given to children soon after their first birthday and again at 4 - 6 years of age.
  • This second dose may be given in a combined vaccine with varicella (chickenpox), called MMRV.

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What if my child misses a needle?

  • 2 doses of MMR vaccine should be given after the first birthday.
  • If you miss a dose, your health care provider will discuss the “catch-up” schedule with you.

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Who should not get the MMR vaccine?

  • You should not have the MMR vaccine if:
    • you are ill with a fever or severe new illness
    • you have had a severe allergic reaction (called anaphylaxis) to a prior dose of this vaccine, or to neomycin or gelatine
    • you have a disease that lowers the body’s ability to fight infections, unless vaccination is specifically advised by a doctor
    • you are taking medication that lowers the body’s ability to fight infections, unless vaccination is specifically advised by a doctor
    • you are pregnant
  • Speak with your health care provider if you have received immune globulin (IG) or any other injections or transfusions within the last 11 months or if you are to receive immune globulin in the next 2 weeks.

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Is the MMR vaccine safe?

  • Yes. Most children will have no side effects.
  • The MMR vaccine can cause tiredness, loss of appetite, rash, and/or fever in some children 7 - 12 days after the needle is given. This may last for 1 - 3 days. Swollen glands may also appear. Research shows that serious side effects are very rare.

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What if I decide not to vaccinate?

  • The vaccine is required by law (Immunization of School Pupils Act Amendment, 2014). Students who are not vaccinated may be suspended from school. Your child will be at risk of getting measles, mumps and rubella if you decide not to vaccinate.
  • Parents who choose not to vaccinate must complete a legal statement, known as a Statement of Conscience or Religious Belief (external PDF). This form must be notarized. There are some children who cannot get a vaccine for medical reasons. A doctor can fill out a medical exemption form. These forms must be brought to the Halton Region Health Department.

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Risks of measles, mumps and rubella vs. risk of vaccine

Risks of measles, mumps and rubella

  • Measles can lead to ear infections or pneumonia in one of every 10 children.
  • Brain can swell causing brain damage and developmental delays.
  • Risk of death (measles): 1/3000
  • About 1/10 people with mumps gets meningitis.
  • Mumps can cause painful, swollen testicles in 1/4 males or painful, swollen ovaries in 1/20 females.
  • Rubella can lead to chronic arthritis.

VS.

Risk of vaccine

  • Pain and redness at the injection site.
  • Sore joints can be experienced in up to 26% of female recipients
  • Serious adverse event VERY rare.

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How can I prepare my child for vaccination?

  • Talk to your child about the vaccine.
  • Complete and return the consent form.
  • Review helpful ways to deal with fear or anxiety (count to ten, look away from needle, focus on breathing).
  • Make sure your child eats on clinic day.
  • Make sure your child wears a short sleeve shirt on clinic day.

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