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The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children receive two doses of the MMR vaccine.   ACIP recommends the first dose of the vaccine be given to children between 12-15 months and the second between 4 and 6 years old.

The MMR vaccine protects kids against three dangerous conditions—measles, mumps and rubella.  Children usually receive these vaccinations without any lasting side effects, but rare and serious vaccine adverse reactions can occur.

MMR vaccine side effects can lead to a number of serious conditions including, anaphylaxis, encephalopathy, and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM).

Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms of anaphylaxis can begin minutes or hours after vaccination. Victims suffering from an allergic reaction to a vaccine may have difficulty breathing and could go into cardiac or respiratory arrest.

Encephalopathy can occur within five to 15 days after receiving the MMR vaccine. Children with acute encephalopathy may suffer a seizure, lose consciousness, or experience difficulty responding to their environment.

ADEM is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own brain tissue. Vaccine injuries related to ADEM include weakness, vision problems, muscle weakness and control problems, seizures and other neurological complications. ADEM symptoms typically appear four to 13 days after the MMR vaccine is given. Patients who develop ADEM after a vaccine may experience complications for up to a year.

Millions of children across the country may receive the MMR vaccine in preparation for the new school year. Parents should be mindful of these potential rare side effects of MMR and seek medical attention immediately if their child shows signs of a serious vaccine reaction.


  1. Gravatar for Simon

    Are you aware that this webpage is being used by an anti-vax page on Facebook as a list of reasons not to vaccinate? Just thought you sould know, in case you wish to do anything about it. The page URL is in the URL section of this comment.

  2. Gravatar for Trevor

    Simon, do the sheep of the community want to change the facts. Let the possible side effects be known- that is informed consent if the parents decide to go ahead.

  3. Gravatar for Erin

    Simon, I think this article was fair. He talks about vaccine side effects but also states that measles, mumps and rubella are dangerous diseases. Parents are making difficult and important decisions for their children and should have all the information in order to make fair and balanced decisions.

  4. Gravatar for kat

    While telling the public about side effects is scary to people who are worried about herd immunity, people need to know what to look for if their child does have a bad reaction. Knowing can save lives. Thank you for a fair overview of serious adverse reactions.

  5. Gravatar for kat

    That said, measles, mumps and rubella are rarely serious conditions in first world countries.

Comments are closed.