MMR Vaccination Continues to be Safe and Effective

CDC has issued measles travel alerts for Israel, Ukraine, Philippines, and Brazil

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently named vaccine hesitancy 1 of the top 10 threats to global health. 

A clear indication of this threat can be seen in the number of measles cases reported in the USA during 2019.     

As we approach National Infant Immunization Week on April 27, 2019, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants to underscore its continued confidence in the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines.   

National Infant Immunization Week is an annual observance to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles. 

Considered eradicated within the USA since 2000, measles has persisted in other areas of the world where the measles vaccine is not as readily available. 

The WHO reported 112,163 measles cases reported by 170 countries during 2019.   

Unvaccinated USA residents exposed to measles while they are traveling abroad often bring the disease back home, which then spread to others, says the FDA. 

The measles outbreaks in various New York counties during 2018-2019 are an example of this international travel risk. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), measles is one of the most contagious diseases and can cause severe complications, including pneumonia, swelling of the brain and death. 

In fact, vaccinating against measles not only protects us and our children, but it also protects people who can’t be vaccinated, including children with compromised immune systems. 

The Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine has been approved in the USA for nearly 50 years.   

Large well-designed studies have confirmed the safety and effectiveness of the MMR vaccine and have demonstrated that administration of the vaccine is not associated with the development of autism, says the CDC. 

We do not take lightly our responsibility to ensure the safety and effectiveness of vaccines and work diligently to assess the safety and effectiveness of all licensed vaccines for their intended uses. 

In fact, according to the CDC, 2 doses of the MMR vaccine beginning at 12 months of age (the recommended dosing schedule) are 97 percent effective against measles. 

Like many medical products, the MMR vaccine has known potential side effects that are generally mild and short-lived, such as rash and fever, says the FDA.   

If parents have concerns about these side effects, we recommend that they speak with their health care providers about the benefits and risks of vaccines, along with the potential consequences of not vaccinating against diseases. 

But just to be clear, the FDA has determined that the MMR vaccine is both safe and effective in preventing the measles virus from spreading. 

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. 

Relevant Links: CDC vaccination schedules, CDC vaccine price list, international travel alerts, and report vaccine side effects.