Measles virus vaccine Side Effects
For the Consumer
Applies to measles virus vaccine: subcutaneous powder for solution
Along with its needed effects, measles virus vaccine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking measles virus vaccine:
Symptoms of allergic reaction
- Difficulty in breathing or swallowing
- itching, especially of feet or hands
- reddening of skin, especially around ears
- swelling of eyes, face, or inside of nose
- unusual tiredness or weakness (sudden and severe)
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur while taking measles virus vaccine:
- Fever over 103 °F (39.4 °C)
- Bruising or purple spots on skin
- double vision
- headache (severe or continuing)
- stiff neck
- swelling, blistering or pain at place of injection
- swelling of glands in neck
Some side effects of measles virus vaccine may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Burning or stinging at place of injection
- fever of 100 °F (37.7 °C) or less
- Fever between 100 and 103 °F (37.7 and 39.4 °C)
- itching, swelling, redness, tenderness, or hard lump at place of injection
- skin rash
Fever or skin rash may occur from 5 to 12 days after vaccination and usually lasts several days.
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to measles virus vaccine: subcutaneous powder for injection
Musculoskeletal side effects have included arthralgia and/or arthritis (usually transient and rarely chronic), polyneuritis, myalgia, paresthesia, and rarely chronic arthritis; these symptoms may also occur with natural rubella.[Ref]
Significant central nervous system reactions such as encephalitis and encephalopathy have been very rarely temporally associated with measles vaccine (occurring within 30 days after vaccination); however, causality has not been determined in any case. A certain number of encephalitis cases unrelated to vaccines is expected to occur in a large childhood population; however, there is the possibility that some of these cases may have been caused by measles vaccine. The risk of measles vaccine-associated serious neurological disorders is much smaller than the risk for encephalitis and encephalopathy due to natural measles.
Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) has been very rarely reported in children after measles vaccination. Some of these cases may have been due to unrecognized measles during the first year of life or possibly due to the measles vaccination. The results of a retrospective case-controlled study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that measles vaccine has had the overall effect of protecting against SSPE by preventing measles with its greater risk of SSPE.[Ref]
Nervous system side effects have included measles inclusion body encephalitis (MIBE), encephalopathy, subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE), Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS), febrile convulsions, afebrile convulsions or seizures, ataxia, and ocular palsies.[Ref]
Respiratory side effects have included pneumonitis, cough, and rhinitis.[Ref]
A postmarketing surveillance study of measles/mumps/rubella vaccine in Finland during 1982 to 1993 with 1.5 million pediatric and adult vaccinees reported no deaths or permanent sequelae.[Ref]
Other side effects have included panniculitis, atypical measles, fever, syncope, headache, dizziness, malaise, and irritability. Fatalities have been reported with the polyvalent measles/mumps/rubella vaccine; however, causality has not been determined.
Health care providers should report any allergic or unusual adverse reactions to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) at 1-800-822-7967 (USA) and the manufacturer.[Ref]
1. "Product Information. Attenuvax (measles virus vaccine, live, attenuated)." Merck & Co, Inc, West Point, PA.
Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.