The MMR immunization prevents three major diseases:measles, mumps, and rubella. But this is only possible if you respect thevaccination schedule using a pill reminder app. The antibody has helped massively in our battle against theseharmful diseases. However, it has also seen a lot of controversy over the years.In 1998, a study published in The Lancet claimed that MMR shots wereresponsible for serious infections such as autism in children.
But in 2010, the claim was withdrawn due to deceptive practices and wrong information. Since then, many studies have tried to find the connection between autism and MMR vaccine but nothing has been found as of yet.
Read on to learn more about MMR immunization.
What Does MMR Shots Do?
As mentioned earlier, these shots prevent infections like Measles, Mumps, and Rubella. Those who choose to skip MMR shots may end catch following reactions:
Measles symptoms include:
- Runny nose
- White spots in the mouth
- Ear infections
- Brain damage.
Mumps symptoms include:
- swollen salivary glands
- Muscle Pain
Rubella (German Measles)
Rubella symptoms include:
- Red and inflamed eyes
- Mild to moderate fever
- Swollen lymph nodes at back of the neck
Rubella is extremely dangerous for pregnant women and can cause miscarriage or birth defects.
Who Should Receive MMR Shots?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), following are the appropriate ages for getting MMR vaccines:
- First dose at the age of 12 to 15 months.
- Second dose at the age of 4 to 6 years.
- Adults who are 18 or older must prove that they have already been immunized. Otherwise, they must take at least one dose to be safe.
- Before traveling internationally, children who are 6-11 months old should receive at least one dose while the children who are 12 months or older should take both doses before going on international travels.
- Children who are 12 months or older and have already received at least one MMR shot but are still at the risk of mumps outbreaks should receive more than one shot.
In all of these scenarios, there should be aminimum of 4 weeks break between each appointment. If you find it hard to keeptrack of appointment dates, download a vaccine reminder app as it will help you follow vaccine schedules with ease.
Who Should Avoid MMR Shots?
The CDC has also compiled a list of people who shouldn’t receive MMR shots. It includes those who:
- Have had a severe allergic reaction to one of the vaccine’s components
- Have had a serious reaction to previous MMR shots
- Are suffering from cancer
- Are receiving treatments that weaken the immunity
- Have a serious immune system disorder such as HIV, AIDS, etc.
- Are receiving medications/steroids that affect the immune system
- Have tuberculosis
- Have moderate-to-severe illness
- Are pregnant
- Have recently had a blood transfusion
- Are suffering from a condition that makes you bleed/bruise easily
- Have received shots in the last 28 days
If you have any doubts on MMR vaccine, discuss them with your specialist.
MMR Vaccine and Autism
The increase in autism cases over the past couple of decades has caused specialists to examine the link between MMR and autism.
According to a study in the Western Journal of Medicine in 2001, the number of autism cases had been on the rise since 1979. However, the rise suddenly stopped after the introduction of MMR shots. The studies also found that the reasons behind growing autism cases were most likely due to the difference in ways doctors diagnose this disease.
Even the studies done after that found no connection between autism and MMR vaccine.
Also, a 2014 study published in Pediatrics went over previous vaccine studies in the US and concluded that there is absolutely no connection between MMR vaccines and autism in children.
Another study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2015 found that even among kids with autistic siblings, the risk of catching autism from MMR vaccine was zero.
Furthermore, the World Health Organization has also agreed that there is no link between MMR vaccine and autism.
MMR Vaccine Side Effects
Just like every other medication, MMR shots can cause side effects. However, the likelihood of getting MMR symptoms is very low. According to CDC, a lot of people who receive immunization experience no reactions at all. Moreover, the CDC states that getting MMR immunization is a lot safer than getting measles, mumps or rubella infections.
Here’s a look at some of the MMR vaccine side effects:
Common Side Effects
- Joint or muscle pain
- Easy bruising or bleeding
- Mental/mood changes
Less serious side effects:
- Redness, pain, or swelling where the shot was given
- Joint or muscle pain
- Low fever
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
These are some MMR vaccine side effects. But this is not a complete list and many other reactions not listed here may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice if you notice any of the possible symptoms while taking shots.
According to health authorities and studies, MMR shots have prevented outbreaks of many serious diseases. If you have doubts over MMR vaccine, the best thing to do is to consult with your doctor and also examine the risks and benefits on your own to have a clear idea of what the vaccination is all about. Also, respect your vaccination schedules through a pill tracker app to get maximum benefits from the shots.