Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) Vaccine
The measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine is a combination vaccine that
was licensed in 1971 to protect against measles, mumps, and rubella. These
diseases are serious and can be potentially deadly. Each year in the United
States, nearly 10 million doses of the vaccine are distributed. CDC continues to
recommend two doses of MMR vaccine for all children: dose 1 at ages 12-15
months and dose 2 at ages 4-6 years.
Due to high vaccination rates, outbreaks of measles, mumps, and rubella in
the U.S. are not as common as they were before the vaccine began being used.
However, these diseases still appear in the U.S. and people who decide not to
vaccinate their children because of religious or personal beliefs put their
children and others at risk for getting these diseases.
- The MMR vaccine protects against dangerous, even deadly, diseases.
- The most common adverse events following the MMR vaccine are pain where
the vaccine is given, fever, a mild rash, and swollen glands in the cheeks
- No published scientific evidence shows any benefit in separating the
combination MMR vaccine into three individual shots.
- Measles outbreaks can occur in communities with a high number of
unvaccinated people. Maintaining high overall MMR vaccination rates is
needed to continue to limit the spread of measles.
Because signs of autism may appear around the same time children receive the
MMR vaccine, some parents may worry that the vaccine causes autism. Vaccine
safety experts, including experts at CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics
(AAP), agree that MMR vaccine is not responsible for recent increases in the
number of children with autism. In 2004, a report by the Institute of Medicine
(IOM) concluded that there is no link between autism and MMR vaccine, and that
there is no link between autism and vaccines that contain thimerosal as a
MMR Vaccine Safety Research
Many carefully performed scientific studies have found no link between MMR
vaccine and autism. These studies include:
September 2008 case-control study published in Public Library of
Science (PLoS) was conducted in 2004-2008 to determine whether results from
an earlier study that claimed to find measles virus RNA in the intestinal
tissue of a specific group of autistic children could be confirmed. The
results could not be confirmed, and no link between MMR and autism was
- An April 2006 study conducted by the National Institute of Child Health
and Human Development (NICHD) of NIH and the CDC assessed data from 351
children with autism spectrum disorders and 31 typically-developing
children. The study did not find a link between MMR vaccination and autism.
The results were pubished in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.
- A February 2004 case-control study examined the possible relationship
between exposure to the MMR vaccine and autism in Atlanta, Georgia. The
results were published in Pediatrics.
- A November 2002 study by CDC and the Danish Medical Research Council
that followed more than 500,000 children over 7 years and found no
association between MMR vaccination and autism. The results were published
in the New England Journal of Medicine.
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