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All about: Measles Virus Vaccine Live

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Some commonly used brand names are:

In the U.S.—

  • Attenuvax

Generic name product may be available in Canada.

Category

  • Immunizing agent, active

Description

Measles (MEE-zills) Virus Vaccine Live is an immunizing agent used to prevent infection by the measles virus. It works by causing your body to produce its own protection (antibodies) against the virus. This vaccine does not protect you against German measles (Rubella). A separate immunization is needed for that type of measles.

Measles (also known as coughing measles, hard measles, morbilli, red measles, rubeola, and ten-day measles) is an infection that is easily spread from one person to another. Infection with measles can lead to serious problems, such as pneumonia, ear infections, sinus problems, convulsions (seizures), brain damage, and possibly death. The risk of serious complications and death is greater for adults and infants than for children and teenagers.

Immunization against measles is recommended for everyone 12 to 15 months of age and older. In addition, there may be special reasons why children from 6 months of age up to 12 months of age may also require measles vaccine.

Immunization against measles is usually not recommended for infants up to 12 months of age, unless the risk of their getting a measles infection is high. This is because antibodies they received from their mothers before birth may interfere with the effectiveness of the vaccine. Children who were immunized against measles before 12 months of age should be immunized twice again.

You can be considered to be immune to measles only if you received two doses of measles vaccine starting on or after your first birthday and have the medical record to prove it, if you have a doctor's diagnosis of a previous measles infection, or if you have had a blood test showing immunity to measles.

This vaccine is to be administered only by or under the supervision of your doctor or other health care professional. It is available in the following dosage form:

  • Parenteral
  • Injection (U.S. and Canada)

Before Receiving This Vaccine

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For measles vaccine, the following should be considered:

Allergies—Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to measles vaccine or to any form of the antibiotic neomycin. Also, tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as gelatin.

Pregnancy—Although studies on effects in pregnancy have not been done in humans and problems have not been shown to occur, use of measles vaccine during pregnancy, or becoming pregnant within 3 months after receiving measles vaccine, is not recommended.

Breast-feeding—Measles vaccine virus may pass into breast milk. However, this vaccine has not been reported to cause problems in nursing babies.

Children—Measles vaccine usually is not recommended for infants up to 12 months of age. In special cases, such as children traveling outside the U.S. or children living in high-risk areas, measles vaccine may be given to children as young as 6 months of age.

Other medicines—Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Before you receive measles vaccine, it is especially important that your health care professional knows if you have received any of the following:

  • Treatment with x-rays or cancer medicines—Treatment may increase the action of the vaccine, causing an increase in vaccine side effects, or treatment may interfere with the useful effect of the vaccine

Other medical problems—The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of measles vaccine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Immune deficiency condition (or family history of)—Condition may increase the chance and severity of side effects of the vaccine and/or may decrease the useful effects of the vaccine
  • Severe illness with fever—The symptoms of the condition may be confused with the possible side effects of the vaccine

Proper Use of This Vaccine

Dosing—The dose of measles vaccine will be different for different patients. The following information includes only the average doses of measles vaccine.

  • For injection dosage form:
    • For prevention of measles:
      • Adults and children 12 months of age and older—One dose injected under the skin, followed by a second dose at least one month later.

Precautions After Receiving This Vaccine

Do not become pregnant for 3 months after receiving measles vaccine without first checking with your doctor .

Tell your doctor that you have received this vaccine:

  • If you are to receive a tuberculin skin test within 4 to 6 weeks after receiving this vaccine. The results of the test may be affected by this vaccine.
  • If you are to receive this vaccine within 2 weeks before or 3 to 11 months after receiving blood transfusions or other blood products.
  • If you are to receive this vaccine 2 weeks before or 3 to 11 months after receiving gamma globulin or other immune globulins.

Side Effects of This Vaccine

Along with its needed effects, a vaccine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Get emergency help immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

Symptoms of allergic reaction

Difficulty in breathing or swallowing; hives; 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:

More common

Fever over 103 °F (39.4 °C)

Rare

Bruising or purple spots on skin; confusion; double vision; headache (severe or continuing); irritability; stiff neck; swelling, blistering or pain at place of injection; swelling of glands in neck; vomiting

Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:

More common

Burning or stinging at place of injection; fever of 100 °F (37.7 °C) or less

Less common

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.

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.

Revised: 07/23/1997

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