What is the vaccine?

The MMR vaccine protects against the diseases of Measles, Mumps and Rubella.

When is it administered?

At one year and five years old in the form of a booster shot.

Measles

What is the disease?

Transmitted like the common cold through mucous, saliva and coughing, measles is a virus that causes fever, runny nose, cough and a red rash. Because the rash looks like any other skin irritation, it’s important to get tested to diagnose this disease.

Is it serious?

Most cases are relatively harmless and last about a week, which usually provides lifelong immunity. However, 1 in 1,000 cases are fatal. The measles virus can also infect internal organs causing damage and complications. There is no treatment for the disease; the measles need to run their course, although high doses of vitamin A can help reduce its effects. Prior to the vaccine, measles lead to many deaths in children.

Is it common?

No, large in part due to the MMR vaccine. In the early 1900s, there were almost 1 million cases annually and now we see less than 100 reported cases. We usually see these as isolated outbreaks in a specific geographical area.

Mama Natural’s take:

We can be thankful for the vaccine which has reduced this disease’s threat. Of the three diseases, the measles is the most serious.

Mumps

What is the disease?

Transmitted like the common cold through mucous, saliva and coughing, mumps is a virus that causes fever, runny nose, cough and a red rash but rarely effects internal organs. Puffy cheeks is the telltale sign.

Is it serious?

No. In fact, many children can have and no one even diagnoses it because the symptoms are so mild. In adults, mumps can be more problematic, even causing sterility, as well as arthritic pain, kidney and heart problems and nervous system issues.

Is it common?

No. We see about 250 cases annually versus several hundred thousand in the early 1900s.

Mama Natural’s take:

Like chicken pox, this is a disease that can run its course without serious issues.

Rubella

What is the disease?

Very similar to measles and mumps, rubella is a virus that causes fever and a rash. In some cases, it can cause achiness of joints and gland swelling behind the ears. It’s transmitted like the common cold through saliva, mucous and cough. Once you get rubella, you’re immune for life.

Is it serious?

No, in fact, many children will have rubella without it ever being diagnosed because the symptoms are so mild. But it is serious in pregnant women because if she catches rubella, her fetus can develop birth defects, particularly if in the first and second trimester. This can result in hearing, vision and mental dysfunction and even stillbirth. No treatment is available; the virus needs to run its course. We therefore vaccinate to protect pregnant mamas more than babies.

Is it common?

No, large in part due to the MMR vaccine, we see less than 300 reported cases a year, versus before the vaccine where we saw about 100,000 cases annually.

Mama Natural’s take:

Overall, not a serious disease for children… but can be for in utero. If mama is planning on multiple pregnancies, she might want her children to be vaccinated.

MMR Vaccine

Is the vaccine controversial?

This vaccine is the most controversial vaccine out there and probably the one that’s responsible for the growing trend of parents choosing not to vaccinate their children.  Interesting to note, this vaccine does not and never had mercury in it.

The MMR vaccine is a “live virus’ vaccine meaning that it contains the virus in its whole and living form, albeit minuscule dose. The advantage to this is that kids need just one dose, versus 3 doses like many other vaccines, but kids do need a follow up shot at 5 years old since the immunity can wear off for some children by 5 years old. Some parents may chose to get just one shot when they are older, say 4 or 5, but some states won’t allow that. Additionally, some parents may only want to give 1 shot at 1 year old and then do a blood test to see if their child still has immunity. This is uncommon since it’s expensive, time-consuming and some doctors won’t do this at all.

Up until the 1990’s when the MMR vaccine came to the scene, the vaccines for these diseases were separate shots. Parents can still get these single vaccines, and space out the shots up to a year, if they so chose. Not enough research has been done if this reduces the toxicity effects but it is another option as it may mean better effectiveness of the individual vaccines and fewer side effects. Or some parents may chose to just get the measles shot since this is the only one that results in fatalities in children.

Back to vaccine ingredients, the rubella virus that used in this vaccine is taken from an infected aborted fetus back in the 1960s. The virus has been nourished for years in a culture of human lung cells. The measles and mumps viruses have less known origins but they are being nourished in a culture of chicken embryo cells. Both of these cultures are housed in a saline solution full of vitamins, amino acids, sugar, gelatin, an antibiotic, serum from a cow fetus, and human albumin. These are all tested to make sure that no germs are present. The viruses are removed from cultures and put into the vaccine solution in a weakened form so they don’t cause a viral infection after injected.

Side effects to the MMR vaccine are typical immune responses such as achiness, rash, and fever. One in 20 children will have these reactions, which can happen up to 2 weeks after injection.

More rare side effects can include inflammation of the pancreas, brain and blood vessels, bleeding disorders, Stevens-Johnson syndrome (a life-threatening rash), measles, mumps and rubella infections, deafness, seizures, visual dysfunction, chronic arthritis, diabetes, and other allergic reactions.

The (Debunked) Autism Connection:

In 1998, Dr. Wakefield, a British researcher, published a (much contested and eventually discredited) article in The Lancet about a possible correlation between 12 autistic children who had inflammatory disease of the bowel that may have been triggered by the live measles virus in the MMR vaccine. That said, no one has been able to truly prove that autism is caused by the MMR vaccine despite extensive research since the 1998 findings. As a result of this controversy, Dr. Wakefield was barred from practicing medicine in the UK.

Mama Natural’s take:

Measles is a serious disease that can be fatal in children. The MMR vaccine is an intense shot that many children have reactions to, albeit, a rash, a fever, fatigue, etc. I would say that each mom and dad needs to look at their child’s total health picture. If your son or daughter has immune issues to begin with such as allergies, eczema, asthma, I would be cautious about getting this vaccine. The bummer is if you went for the single dose of measles that would be better in terms of immune system strain but that is the one vaccine that has some correlations with autism. No easy answers! I will continue to watch Griffin and pray about and make my decision at that time. Definitely can wait on this one and if he does it this vaccine it will be when he’s 5 years old.

Here are all the other videos in this series

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