As a mother, you tend to get worried or anxious when you watch your child getting vaccine shots at a doctor’s office. Even though it’s irksome to go through the process, vaccines like the MR vaccine certainly protect your child against highly infectious diseases.
Is the vaccination necessary?
Vaccines are made from killed microbes or live, weakened microbes. When your child gets a vaccine, the child’s immune system recognizes the microbe as a foreign substance and responds by producing antibodies against it. In the future, whenever your child is exposed to the same virus or bacteria, the antibody that is already present in the blood instantly recognizes the microbe and destroys it before it makes the child sick, thus protecting the child from the disease.
Which diseases does the MR vaccine protect us from?
The MR vaccine provides combined protection against the diseases measles and rubella.
Measles – This is an extremely contagious disease caused by the Rubeola virus, which invades the mucosa of nose and throat. Symptoms include a runny nose, throat pain, fever, watery eyes, itchy skin, and a red rash all over. The complications include bronchopneumonia, encephalitis, and mental retardation. It can also lead to a serious ear infection.
Measles being an airborne infection, it can easily spread through tiny droplets from sneezing or coughing and even person-to-person contact.
Rubella – Also called German measles, this is usually a mild form of measles that lasts for 3 days. The symptoms are a cough, runny nose and rash all over with swollen glands. It spreads through direct contact and through droplets from a cough and sneezing.
The standard MR vaccine schedule is for the first shot to be given at 9-12 months and the second shot to be given at 16-24 months of age.
What are the reactions to vaccination?
The risk of side effects with vaccination exists, as with any medicine. A majority of the children who receive the MR vaccine don’t encounter any problems. Some minor symptoms such as fever, swelling of the glands, temporary pain at the injection site and rash may occur; however, they are mostly self-limiting and are seldom serious.
Children are advised to sit or lay down for 15-30 minutes at the vaccination center after receiving the vaccine as they may experience dizziness or fainting.
Going through these temporary inconveniences is much safer than getting the disease itself, isn’t it?
How effective is the MR vaccine?
According to the Indian vaccine recommendations, children who received two doses of MR are 95% protected for measles and 99% for rubella. The body takes few days to develop antibodies and hence if the child is exposed to the virus during that period, he/she is likely to get an infection but in a minor form. The immunity offered by the MR vaccine is shown to persist for at least 20 years and is thought to be lifelong.
What do I do if my child is exposed to the measles or rubella viruses?
If your child is not immune and gets exposed to the virus, consult your doctor about receiving the vaccine. Receiving MR vaccine post-exposure is not harmful and will reduce the severity of the disease.
Where to get the vaccine from for free?
You can vaccinate your child against measles and rubella by taking the free MR vaccine shots at any of the government hospitals in the city like KEM, Sion hospital, Nair hospital and such.
The MR vaccine provides protection against two contagious diseases, thereby preventing their outbreak. This means not only is your child safe, but so is the environment around your child. The vaccine is effective and safe, so don’t tarry, protect your child now.