The recent measles outbreak has sparked a debate about vaccine injuries and the safety of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR). Vaccine adverse reactions can occur, but most MMR vaccine reactions are rare and minor, according to an Institute of Medicine (IOM) study.
The vast majority of children do not experience anything worse than short-lived redness or itching at the injection site, Scientific American reported.
Children who receive the MMR vaccine have a one in 3,000 chance of developing a fever that leads to a seizure, according to IOM. Such seizures should not lead to any permanent neurological damage and actually occur less frequently than seizures caused by the itself.
Unfortunately, there are some rare instances in which a child can suffer irreversible neurological damage as a result of MMR vaccine injuries. Serious vaccine adverse reactions associated with MMR include anaphylaxis – a serious allergic reaction – and encephalopathy.
Paul Offit, a pediatrics professor at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who watched his daughter seize after receiving the diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTap) vaccine said that although it’s hard to watch your child seize, it’s important to remember this type of seizure does not result in long-term harm, reported Scientific American.
Encephalopathy can be a fatal vaccine injury, or it can leave a child with substantial brain damage. Children who suffer encephalopathy after a vaccine may experience seizures, loss of consciousness, inability to respond to their environment, and can result in a coma.
MMR vaccine injuries are extremely rare. Since the 1986 launch of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, only 57 claims involving death caused by the measles vaccine have been filed, NBC News reported. In contrast, The World Health Organization estimates that the measles infection kills more than 140,000 people a year.
Parents should not delay the measles vaccine out of fear of vaccine injuries. The Anapol Weiss vaccine injury lawyers urge parents to discuss the benefits and risks of the MMR vaccine with their child’s pediatrician and strongly consider those recommendations.