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What Is MMRV Used For?

Approved for children only, the MMRV vaccine is used to protect against measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (chickenpox). Although this vaccination contains live viruses, they are altered so that they do not actually cause the diseases. One possible off-label (unapproved) use of this vaccine involves giving it to people older than 12 years.

An Introduction to Uses for MMRV

MMRV (ProQuad®) is a childhood vaccine that protects against the following four viral diseases:
 
 
  • Mumps, a viral infection that commonly causes a fever, headache, and swollen glands. Serious complications of mumps include:
     
    • Deafness
    • Meningitis (a dangerous infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord)
    • Swelling of the ovaries and testicles
    • Death
 
  • Rubella (also known as German measles), a viral infection that commonly causes a rash, fever, and arthritis. This infection can also cause serious complications for pregnant women, such as:
     
    • Miscarriages
    • Serious birth defects.
 
MMRV can be used instead of giving the two individual vaccines (the MMR and the varicella vaccine) separately. Typically, the first dose would be given at 12 to 15 months of age, and the second dose would be given before starting school (4 to 6 years of age).
 
However, studies have suggested that MMRV is more likely to cause fevers and febrile seizures (seizures associated with high fevers) in children age 12 to 23 months old, compared to giving the MMR and varicella vaccines as separate injections at the same visit.
 
Therefore, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests that the MMR and varicella vaccines be given separately instead of using MMRV for children age 12 to 23 months of age, unless parents prefer MMRV. The main reason that a parent would prefer MMRV would be to reduce the number of injections that are necessary.
 
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MMRV Vaccination Information

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