MMR stands for Measles, Mumps and Rubella and is often referred to as the triple vaccine. Children receive a single injection of the MMR vaccine at around 13 months, with another dose given at three years and four to five months old.

The MMR protects against three diseases;

  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Rubella (German Measles)

The vaccine contains mild traces of live measles, mumps and rubella viruses.

  • Children are vaccinated at thirteen months, with a booster vaccination given at around the age of four.
  • The first vaccination is given after your baby’s first birthday as this is the time when the natural immunity acquired from pregnancy and nursing begins to fade.
  • Unfortunately, the first dose does not work for all children. Because of this a second dose is
    given between three and four years old to protect those children who did not respond to the first vaccination.
  • Children who do respond to the first dose, will get a boost of antibodies when they have the second dose.
  • The vaccine is given by injection into a muscle, usually in baby’s thigh or the top of his arm.

Side effects

There has been much said about the link with the MMR and autism, and numerous studies have all failed to find a conclusive link.

However, the three components of the vaccine may have some side effects, occurring at different times.

  • Six to ten days after vaccination some children (one in ten) may develop a fever, slight rash and feel generally unwell.
  • Very rarely, three weeks after vaccination some children may develop slight swelling of their glands (in response to the mumps part of the vaccine starting to work)
  • About one in a thousand children may suffer a febrile convulsion (fitting) after the vaccination. However, if a child catches measles they have a one in 200 chance of fitting.
  • One in a million children develops encephalitis, a swelling of the brain, after the vaccine. However, if a child catches measles, the risk is between one in 200 and one in 5000.