Rubella virus vaccine Side Effects
For the Consumer
Applies to rubella virus vaccine: subcutaneous injectable, subcutaneous powder for solution
As well as its needed effects, rubella virus vaccine may cause unwanted side effects that require medical attention.
If any of the following side effects occur while taking rubella virus vaccine, check with your doctor immediately: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)
If any of the following side effects occur while taking rubella virus vaccine, check with your doctor or nurse as soon as possible:Less common:
- Pain or tenderness of eyes
- Bruising or purple spots on skin
- convulsions (seizures)
- headache (severe or continuing)
- pain, numbness, or tingling of hands, arms, legs, or feet
- stiff neck
- unusual irritability
Some rubella virus vaccine side effects may not need any medical attention. As your body gets used to the medicine these side effects may disappear. Your health care professional may be able to help you prevent or reduce these side effects, but do check with them if any of the following side effects continue, or if you are concerned about them:More common:
- Burning or stinging at place of injection
- skin rash
- swelling of glands in neck
- Aches or pain in joints
- headache (mild), sore throat, runny nose, or fever
- itching, swelling, redness, tenderness, or hard lump at place of injection
- vague feeling of bodily discomfort
The above side effects (especially aches or pain in joints) are more likely to occur in adults, particularly women.
Some of the above side effects may not occur until 1 to 4 weeks after immunization and usually last less than 1 week. Aches or pain in joints may not occur until 1 to 10 weeks after immunization, and usually lasts less than 1 week. Check with your doctor if this side effect continues or is bothersome.
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to rubella virus vaccine: subcutaneous powder for injection
Local side effects have included injection site burning/stinging, wheal and flare, erythema, pain, and induration.[Ref]
Hypersensitivity reactions have included anaphylaxis, anaphylactoid reactions, angioneurotic edema (including peripheral or facial edema), and bronchial spasm.[Ref]
Cardiovascular side effects have included vasculitis.[Ref]
Dermatologic side effects have included Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, erythema multiforme, urticaria, and rash.[Ref]
Gastrointestinal side effects have included pancreatitis; diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea.[Ref]
Hematologic side effects have included thrombocytopenia, purpura, regional lymphadenopathy, and leukocytosis.[Ref]
The vaccine has rarely been associated with chronic joint symptoms. The incidence of arthritis and arthralgia is generally higher in adult women than in children (women, 12% to 26%; children, 0% to 3%), and symptoms tend to be more marked and of longer duration, persisting for months or years (rare). In adolescent girls, the incidence of reactions appears to be intermediate between those seen in children and in women. These reactions are generally well tolerated and rarely interfere with normal activities, even in women over 35 years old.[Ref]
Musculoskeletal side effects have included arthralgia and/or arthritis (usually transient and rarely chronic), myalgia, paresthesia, and rarely chronic arthritis; these symptoms may also occur with natural rubella.[Ref]
Nervous system side effects have included encephalitis, Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS), polyneuritis, polyneuropathy, and paresthesia.[Ref]
Ocular side effects have included optic neuritis, papillitis, retrobulbar neuritis, and conjunctivitis.[Ref]
Otic side effects have included nerve deafness and otitis media.[Ref]
Respiratory side effects have included sore throat, 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 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. Meruvax II (rubella virus vaccine, live)." Merck & Co, Inc, West Point, PA.
It is possible that some side effects of rubella virus vaccine may not have been reported. These can be reported to the FDA here. Always consult a healthcare professional for medical advice.
More about rubella virus vaccine
- Other brands: Meruvax II
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