Precautions and Warnings With MMRV
Prior to receiving the MMRV vaccine, there are many precautions to be aware of, including warnings on who should not receive this injection and possible side effects that could occur. For example, this vaccination may not be safe for use in people with health conditions such as epilepsy or diabetes. Other safety concerns involve avoiding this product if you have certain allergies or are pregnant.
- An immune-suppressing condition such as HIV or AIDS, diabetes, or cancer
- Had any sort of a reaction to any vaccine in the past
- A moderate or severe illness
- Had a recent blood transfusion (or have recently received any other blood products)
- Seizures or epilepsy
- A low blood platelet count
- A malignant blood or lymph disorder, such as leukemia or lymphoma
- Any allergies, including to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about any medications you are taking, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Some warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to receiving the MMRV vaccine include the following:
- MMRV contains the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine combined with a chickenpox vaccine. When the first dose of this vaccine is given to children age 12 to 23 months of age, fevers and febrile seizures (seizures associated with high fevers in young children) are more likely to occur, compared to giving the MMR and chickenpox vaccines as separate injections at the same visit. Therefore, it is generally preferred to give the two vaccines as separate injections for the first dose, instead of using MMRV.
- You can receive MMRV if you have a mild illness, such as the common cold. However, it is usually best to postpone the vaccine in the case of a moderate or severe illness.
- Make sure your healthcare provider knows if you have ever had any serious reactions to any vaccines in the past.
- If you have an immune-suppressing condition, MMRV may not be as effective as usual for protection against measles, mumps, or rubella, as your immune system may not be fully capable of responding to the vaccine.
More importantly, people with a weakened immune system may be more likely to actually get chickenpox, measles, mumps, or rubella from this vaccine because it is live. Severely immunocompromised individuals should not receive MMRV.
- Sometimes, people develop a mild chickenpox-like rash after this vaccine. People with such a rash could potentially spread the vaccine virus to others. This is mostly a concern for people with close contact with the following groups:
- Immunosuppressed individuals
- Pregnant women who have never had chickenpox or a chickenpox vaccine (such as MMRV or Varivax®)
- Newborns born to mothers who have never had chickenpox or a chickenpox vaccine.
Make sure to talk with your healthcare provider before receiving this vaccine if you will have close contact with such individuals. In many cases, vaccination is still recommended.
- MMRV is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means it is unknown if it is safe for use during pregnancy (see ProQuad and Pregnancy).
- This vaccine should not be given to breastfeeding women (see ProQuad and Breastfeeding).
- This vaccine is grown in chick embryo cell cultures. If you are allergic to chicken eggs, your healthcare provider may want to take special precautions in case you have an allergic reaction. However, current recommendations suggest that people who are allergic to chicken eggs should be able to safely receive MMRV without any additional precautions.
- Caution should be used before giving this vaccine to people with a history of brain damage, seizures, or other conditions negatively affected by fevers, as MMRV can cause fevers.
- This vaccine can cause low blood platelets, which may increase the risk of bleeding. People who already have low blood platelets may have at a greater risk for severe problems.
- This vaccine should be postponed for at least three months if a person has received an immune globulin or a blood product (such as a blood transfusion), as such products reduce the effectiveness of MMRV.
- MMRV does not contain thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative. People who are concerned about exposure to this substance can be confident that this vaccine does not even contain trace amounts of it. Some people are also concerned about the aluminum content of vaccines. MMRV does not contain any aluminum.
- This vaccine is grown in animal and human fetal components. Specifically, parts of the vaccine are grown in chick embryo cells, fetal bovine (cow) serum, and a cell line developed from an aborted human fetus.
- MMRV can potentially react with some other medications (see Drug Interactions With MMRV).