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Mumps - The vaccine

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What are the MR and MMR vaccines?

Some countries use combination vaccines for measles and rubella (MR) or for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR). MR and MMR vaccines are provided in powder form with diluents and must be reconstituted before they can be used (see Module 6). It is essential that only the diluent supplied with the vaccine be used.

MR and MMR vaccines should be kept at 2ºC–8°C after reconstitution. Any remaining reconstituted vaccine must be discarded after six hours or at the end of the immunization session, whichever comes first.

How safe are the MR and MMR vaccines and what are their potential side-effects?

Mild reactions to the vaccines include:

  • Fever. As with the single-antigen measles vaccine, about 5% to 15% of children develop a mild fever within five to 12 days of receiving the vaccine.
  • Rash. Again as with the measles vaccine, about one in 20 children develop a mild rash about five to 12 days after being immunized.

Severe reactions are rare and similar to that experienced after receipt of the measles vaccine. Although an association between MMR and autism has been suggested, there is absolutely no evidence of such an association.

In addition rubella-containing vaccines may result in a temporary form of arthritis from one to three weeks after vaccination in up to one in four post-pubertal females. These reactions are very rare in young children.

Mumps-containing vaccines may result in rare cases of parotitis and some cases of aseptic meningitis. Children recover without sequelae although some may need to be hospitalized. The risk of developing this complication varies depending on the vaccine strain used.

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