MMR: Mumps, Rubella and Measles Vaccine
The MMR vaccine is a combination injection that includes mumps, rubella and measles vaccines. These diseases can be very contagious and can have adverse side effect, which can often be fatal. The MMR vaccine was introduced in 1988 and most children have been vaccinated against the three diseases, but recently outbreaks of measles have caused growing concern in the UK.
How MMR Vaccines Work
The MMR injection is loaded with a small amount of the live disease - not enough to infect the patient, but just enough to kick the immune system into action. Once the immune system is triggered from the MMR injection, it will begin to make antibodies and the disease.
If you have had the mumps, rubella and measles vaccine, your body will immediately fight off the disease should you come into contact with it in the future. It is not possible for someone who has had the MMR injection to carry or contract the disease.
Your children should be vaccinated in school, but if for any reason your children miss the injection you should contact the NHS immediately. Because of lack of measles vaccine in Swansea, an outbreak occured in 2013 with over 121 cases of measles, with the first fatality due to the disease since 2008.
If you have missed out on your MMR or measles vaccine, you can contact the NHS for a 'catch-up' immunization free of charge. The NHS will also provide the vaccination to anyone who is pregnany, born between 1970 and 1979 or 1980 and 1990.
If you are unsure whether you received the full MMR jab, you can still contact the NHS to receive individual injections for mumps, rubella or measles.
Does the MMR cause autism?
There has been controversary in the UK that the mumps, rubella and measles vaccine can cause autism. However, Dr Andrew Wakefield, who first published his apparent findings in 1998, has been widely discredited by the scientific community and his findings have been disregarded. The NHS has assured parents that the MMR does not cause autism and, to prevent further outbreaks, their children should be fully protected.