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Immunisation

No reactions to MMR

Most children who have the MMR vaccine do not have any problems with it, or if reactions to MMR do occur, they are usually mild. The risk of severe reactions to MMRcausing serious harm, or death, is extremely small. 

The majority of parents we interviewed said that their child had no reaction at all, after either dose of the MMR vaccines. They stressed that they had been very worried beforehand, but their child had been exactly the same after the immunisation as they were before it. One mother gave her daughter the single measles vaccine and was planning to give mumps and rubella single vaccines. She said that her daughter had no reaction to it.

 

Having been very worried while making their decision, her son's MMR vaccine had been a bit of a...

Having been very worried while making their decision, her son's MMR vaccine had been a bit of a...

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So when he'd had the injection, then, I think he gave a bit of a shout when the needle went in, and then he got some kind of whistle toy from the nurse because he'd been so brave. And then we came home, and I remember keeping looking back in the car to see if he was okay. And we got back here, so it's about twenty minutes from the surgery, and we both said, 'Oh, he seems to be all right. He seems to be quite normal'. And obviously for the next 24 hours then we were looking out for signs of unusual behaviour. But there were none.

And did he have any swelling or anything, any reaction at all?

No, I think, I don't even think we gave him Calpol. So it was a bit of a non-event.

 

Her son who had an egg allergy had no reaction to his MMR vaccine.

Her son who had an egg allergy had no reaction to his MMR vaccine.

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Because he's allergic to egg white, in which the vaccines are cultured, they, the medical staff felt that it was safer for him to have his jabs in a controlled environment in case he had an allergic reaction, so that he could be taken care of quickly and effectively. And so we took him to hospital. He had his MMR jab and was absolutely fine. Had absolutely no reaction whatsoever to it, not even a slightly swollen leg or any, you know, anything at all, he was absolutely fine. But he will be having his MMR booster in hospital as well, just to make sure that he's okay.

So there wasn't any reaction at all?

Nothing at all, no, absolutely fine.

 

Her daughter didn't have any reaction after her MMR vaccine.

Her daughter didn't have any reaction after her MMR vaccine.

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And after the MMR, did your daughter have any reactions after that?

No, she didn't. She was fine. Her usual self, you know, she was playing. You know, babies, it's just, you know, sometimes there might be side effects. But it's one thing that you have to take your chances I think in protecting your baby. But I didn't have any side effects, my daughter didn't have any side effects with any immunisations.

 

Her son had no reaction to the MMR vaccine.

Her son had no reaction to the MMR vaccine.

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Actually I gave the MMR myself. Took a dose from work and you know while I was here one evening I thought it was the easiest thing to do. And again he was absolutely fine after that. He had no problems at all either with the, you know, and sometimes MMR can be associated with vaccine reactions two or three weeks later and he didn't have anything at all really. Certainly not that I was aware of or worried about. He was absolutely fine after the vaccinations he's had.

A few mothers had worried that their child's medical problems could be a contraindication to giving MMR, but had followed their doctor's advice and given their child the vaccine. They were then relieved to find that, indeed, it didn't cause any reaction.

 

Her daughter's health problems improved after she had MMR.

Her daughter's health problems improved after she had MMR.

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But anyway he gave it her and we were there for a few days, you know, we were sort of worrying and, and fretting. And really we've never looked back because we think, and obviously we don't know 100 per cent sure, but we think that it kick-started her immune system in because she just stopped having these constant infections and viruses and these illnesses. Even her bowel problem, problems seemed to improve. She was under the hospital and being treated for the bowel problems, so maybe it was a coincidence, we don't know. But all we can see was the improvement in her health in general from the day she had that, that MMR injection. And we didn't hesitate at all in her having the second one, which she had just before she went to school, we didn't hesitate on that one. She had it and she's been absolutely brilliant ever since.
 
 

The MMR vaccine had no effect on her daughter who had eczema.

The MMR vaccine had no effect on her daughter who had eczema.

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The MMR, you know, I could have chosen any time any day and it was just like a routine appointment at the doctors. I don't seem to, I don't think it was anything different, it wasn't like a clinic as such, it like the primary ones.

And how was she, how were both of them after?

Well absolutely fine. There was, it, there, it wasn't anything like the primary ones. I, I had given them Calpol but they were a lot older, they didn't bother, they didn't have a sleep, it made absolutely no difference to them at all. It didn't give them a temp-, there was, there was just no difference in their behaviour. They had obviously that little lump, a tiny, tiny little lump under the skin where the, the needle had gone in and after a, I can't remember, probably in a few days it had gone. But they, they had no reaction whatsoever in any way, both of them. And in fact my younger daughter suffers from eczema and I had been told by a homeopath to be very careful in my decision-making she said, because she felt that it would exacerbate her eczema. But there wasn't even that reaction in her skin.

All the parents who said their child had little or no reaction to the MMR vaccine also said their child was now healthy and developing normally.

“He's perfectly normal, loud, boisterous, perfectly normal. Completely no effect. But you know, we kept looking and looking and looking but he was completely normal.” [Interview 31, Mother of a 2 and a half year-old-boy] 

“She's her normal self really. Playing, always wants to play, laughing. Tries to say different words and copy you, what you do. It's like she always wants to play, she wants to hold you and take you somewhere and you know she's just herself. And she's always been like that, always laughing and jolly.” [Interview 36, Mother of a 17-month-old girl]

 

Describes her five-year-old daughter as happy and healthy and not affected at all by her MMR...

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Describes her five-year-old daughter as happy and healthy and not affected at all by her MMR...

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She's happy, she's healthy, she's just lovely really. I've got no concerns about her at all. She's bright and intelligent. The teachers when, you know, you go and see them they've got nothing but nice things to say about her and her work. She's certainly not backward in coming forward. She's great and normal and, you know, she hasn't been affected at all, quite the opposite. She's better for it. 

She's gone from a scrawny little child to a lovely podgy, you know, healthy happy one. So I would, I would just say to anybody to have it done, without doubt.

One parent said that their child had not had a reaction after the MMR vaccine. The child was diagnosed with autism four months afterwards, but his parents did not believe this was linked to the MMR vaccine. There is no evidence that autism is linked with the MMR vaccine.

 

He thought that the research suggesting a link between MMR and autism was not convincing enough...

He thought that the research suggesting a link between MMR and autism was not convincing enough...

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When the link was first suggested in the media of a link between MMR and autism, obviously I looked into it very carefully, because this was just at the time when my son had been diagnosed, or a couple of years after he'd been diagnosed as autistic. His autism was quite profound and very troublesome at the time. And I was obviously very interested to look into any possible explanation for the development of this condition, and particularly anything that might suggest some intervention, which might be effective. So I looked at it very carefully. And I must say from the outset I was really shocked by how insubstantial the so-called case linking, the evidence linking MMR and autism actually was. If you looked at that original Lancet paper that caused the furore, it was based on a very small number of cases. There was no actual evidence presented in the paper of a link between MMR and autism beyond the conviction of eight of the twelve parents, parents of eight of the twelve children that they believed that there was a link. But no actual evidence of any such link. And indeed although the team that was promoting this idea indicated their intention to produce evidence of the link subsequently through virological studies, through epidemiological studies, they have conclusively failed to do that over the over the five, six, seven years since.  

And I think the great surprise and really the shock of the MMR thing is how such an insubstantial theory ended up having such an impact. And I think there's a number of reasons why that happened. But I think it's had a very unfortunate effect. But certainly from the outset, I must say looking into it I found it utterly unconvincing.

I sympathise very much with the experience of parents who have had that experience of having a child who's developed apparently perfectly normally up to a certain stage, often 12, 18 months, longer, and then appeared to regress into a state of autism. And I'm sympathetic with that experience because I've had that experience, because that's exactly what happened to us. I mean our son [name] appeared to be developing perfectly normally until about 18 months and then appeared to regress. And I can well understand that parents who found that time of regression coincided to some extent with the MMR immunisation might link the two. Although it's always somewhat difficult because the regression is never an overnight phenomenon. In my experience it's a gradual process, takes place over a few weeks rather than a few days, indeed months. Whereas obviously immunisation is a definite event. But nonetheless I can see if the immunisation took place around that time that you might link the two. Now in our case the immunisation, when we look back, because we never thought of any link at the time. 

And it turned out that we noted the signs of his regression from about the Christmas and that he'd had the MMR in the August. So it was about four months before, when he was just over 12 months old. And, which is right round about the normal time that children have it. He was about 14 months when he had it. But we never noticed anything at the time. And in retrospect it didn't seem to be any link either, because it was four months later. So some people might say, 'Well, it was four months later but maybe there was some relation'. But we'd certainly never thought of any. And honestly it never seemed at all plausible.

Last reviewed October 2015
Last updated June 2011

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