Search Vaccine Injury Help Center

Measles-mumps-rubella-varicella combination vaccine and the risk of febrile seizures

Since, 2007, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (AICP) has been investigating a possible link between the measles-mumps-rubella-varicella combination vaccine and an increase in febrile seizures.

The MMRV vaccine was licensed in the United States in September 2005 and given as an alternative to the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine and varicella vaccine, given separately to children aged 12 months-12 years.

At the time of its licensure, use of MMRV vaccine was preferred for both the first and second doses over separate injections of each MMR vaccine and varicella vaccine, which was consistent with ACIP’s 2006 general recommendations on use of combination vaccines.

However, in July 2007, supplies of MMRV vaccine became temporarily unavailable as a result of manufacturing constraints unrelated to efficacy or safety. In February 2008, on the basis of preliminary data from two studies conducted postlicensure that suggested an increased risk for febrile seizures 5-12 days after vaccination among children aged 12-23 months who had received the first dose of MMRV vaccine compared with children the same age who had received the first dose of MMR vaccine and varicella vaccine administered as separate injections at the same visit, ACIP issued updated recommendations regarding MMRV vaccine use.

Those 12- to 23-month-olds who received their first dose of measles-containing vaccine, fever and seizure were elevated 7 to 10 days after vaccination. Vaccination with MMRV results in 1 additional febrile seizure for every 2300 doses given instead of separate MMR + varicella vaccines. Providers who recommend MMRV should communicate to parents that it increases the risk of fever and seizure over that already associated with measles-containing vaccines.

Studies of febrile seizures after vaccination with first dose of MMRV vaccine have not been done in older children, but experts agree that this increased risk of fever and febrile seizures during the 5 to 12 days after first dose vaccination likely also occurs in children aged 24-47 months .

Therefore, in June 2009, after consideration of the postlicensure data and other evidence, ACIP adopted new recommendations regarding use of MMRV vaccine.

Their recommendation is as follows:

The routinely recommended ages for measles, mumps, rubella and varicella vaccination continue to be age 12–15 months for the first dose and age 4–6 years for the second dose.

For the first dose of measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella vaccines at age 12–47 months, either measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and varicella vaccine or MMRV vaccine may be used. Providers who are considering administering MMRV vaccine should discuss the benefits and risks of both vaccination options with the parents or caregivers. Unless the parent or caregiver expresses a preference for MMRV vaccine, CDC recommends that MMR vaccine and varicella vaccine should be administered for the first dose in this age group.

For the second dose of measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella vaccines at any age (15 months–12 years) and for the first dose at age =48 months, use of MMRV vaccine generally is preferred over separate injections of its equivalent component vaccines (i.e., MMR vaccine and varicella vaccine). Considerations should include provider assessment, patient preference, and the potential for adverse events.

A personal or family (i.e., sibling or parent) history of seizures of any etiology is a precaution for MMRV vaccination. Children with a personal or family history of seizures of any etiology generally should be vaccinated with MMR vaccine and varicella vaccine.

Find More Articles On These Topics:

Related Articles


Contact Our Vaccine Injury Lawyers. GET HELP NOW !
At Law Offices of Sadaka Associates, we can assure you that we will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Our Vaccine Injury Lawyers are standing by to assist you. In most instances you only have three years from the date of injury to file a claim in vaccine court or two years from the date of death. Contact us today, toll-free, at 1-800-810-3457 or fill out our online form for a free case evaluation.
Vaccine News
Pregnant Nurse Fired for Refusing Flu Shot
A pregnant woman was fired for refusing to receive a flu vaccine that she thought could potentially harm her unborn child. The woman is 29-year-old Dreonna Breton, a nurse working at Horizon Healthcare...
Merck Issues Voluntary Recall on Gardasil Vaccine
More than half a million Gardasil vaccinations have been recalled due to glass particle contamination. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported via a news release on December 20, 2013 that the...
A New Vaccine Launched For Typhoid
Typhoid is a life threatening illness caused by the bacterium Samlonella Typi, which is transmitted through food or drink contaminated by the feces or urine of the infected person. According to the CDC...
Measles Outbreak Reported in Texas - Is Fear of MMR to Blame?
A measles outbreak in Texas has doctors all across the state worried and alert for patients who show signs of infections. The Texas Department of State Health Services asked people to seek immunizations...
New HIV Vaccine To Be Tested On Rhesus Monkeys
Recently, many discussions about a developing HIV vaccine have taken place. A research team began working on a vaccine for HIV in 2001 wanting to cure the world wide pandemic affecting 33 million people today....
The HPV Vaccine Has Been Reduced To Two Doses In Quebec
According to the CDC, the HPV vaccine is recommended to boys and girls starting from age 9 and is administered in a series of three doses.  However, new research shows that a third dose may not be needed....