photo of a close up of the vial for a MMR vaccineSince its invention in 1971, the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) combination vaccine has saved thousands of lives every year. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), it is estimated that in the decade before a measles vaccine was available, 3 to 4 million people in the United States were infected each year.

In addition, an estimated 400 to 500 people died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and 4,000 suffered encephalitis (swelling of the brain) from measles. Mumps and rubella were common childhood diseases during this period as well. Thanks to the MMR vaccine, most children are now immune to these diseases before they start elementary school.

However, in some cases, the MMR vaccines can cause mild to severe side effects (including permanent injury) in both children and adults. It’s also important you know about these symptoms and severe reactions in case you or someone you love experiences them after an MMR vaccine injection.

Common Side Effects Associated with the MMR Vaccine

Most side effects you may experience after receiving an MMR vaccine are often mild and do not require hospitalization. According to the CDC, they go away within 6-14 days after the shot.

Here are the common MMR vaccine side effects to watch out for:

  • Fever (up to 1 person out of 6)
  • Mild rash (about 1 person out of 20)
  • Swelling of glands in the cheeks or neck (about 1 person out of 75)
  • Sore arm in the arm 

Severe Reactions Linked to MMR Vaccination

These adverse effects from the MMR vaccine cause more discomfort than the mild side effects listed above.

Here is a list of the moderate side effects the MMR vaccine may cause and how often they happen:

  • Seizure (jerking or staring) caused by fever (about 1 out of 3,000 doses)
  • Temporary pain and stiffness in the joints, mostly in teenage or adult women who did not already have immunity to the rubella component of the vaccine (up to 1 out of 4)
  • Temporary low platelet count, which can cause a bleeding disorder (about 1 out of 30,000 doses)
  • Serious allergic reaction (less than 1 out of a million doses) 
      • Possible symptoms include hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, and weakness.
  • Several other severe problems have been reported after a child gets an MMR vaccine, including:
      • Deafness
      • Long-term seizures, coma, or lowered consciousness
      • Permanent brain damage

Serious Injuries Linked to the MMR Vaccine

The United States government created the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program to compensate people injured by vaccines. It created the Vaccine Injury Table, which lists known side effects and conditions linked to certain vaccinations. 

According to the Table, the following injuries are linked to the MMR vaccine:

  • Anaphylaxis. This medical condition happens when you have an allergic reaction to this shot. Symptoms of anaphylaxis will appear within 4 hours after receiving the MMR vaccine.

  • Encephalopathy or encephalitis. These vaccine injuries occur when the brain becomes inflamed. Encephalitis or encephalopathy symptoms will appear within 72 hours after getting the MMR vaccination. 

  • Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration (SIRVA). Shoulder injuries like this happen when the shot is given too high on the shoulder. Symptoms of SIRVA typically appear within 48 hours of getting the MMR vaccine. 

  • Vasovagal Syncope. This condition happens when your blood pressure and heart rate suddenly drop within an hour after receiving the MMR vaccine, causing you to faint. 

  • Chronic Arthritis. Yes, you can develop chronic arthritis from the MMR vaccine. Symptoms will appear within 7-42 days after getting the MMR vaccine. Learn more about this vaccine reaction by clicking the link. 

  • Thrombocytopenic purpura. This condition occurs when you have low levels of blood cells that prevent bleeding. Symptoms will appear between 7-30 days after receiving the MMR vaccination. 

  • Vaccine-Strain Measles Viral Disease in an Immunodeficient. In rare cases, you can get measles from the MMR vaccine. 

Steps You Should Take Following a Serious Reaction

If you believe you or someone you love is having a serious reaction from the MMR vaccine, you should call 9-1-1 or get to the nearest hospital. After that, the CDC recommends that you file a report with the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), which can be done by your doctor or through the VAERS website.

Seriously Injured by a Vaccine? We Can Help You File a Petition with the VICP

Since 1988, the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has been compensating victims of severe vaccine injuries. If the MMR vaccine has seriously injured you or someone you love, our attorneys at Shannon Law Group P.C. can help you file a petition with the VICP.

Please call us at (312) 578-9501 or toll-free at (886) 881-9980. You can fill out our online contact form, and we will respond to you as soon as possible. A free no-obligation consultation is available as well.


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