Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Varicella (MMRV) Vaccine
The measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (MMRV) vaccine is recommended for children between 12 months to 12 years old. It is a single shot that can be used in place of two other shots—the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine and the varicella (chickenpox) vaccine.
There is one licensed MMRV vaccine, ProQuad [PDF - 310 KB], in the United States.
The safety record of MMRV vaccine is good. Most children who get the vaccine do not have any problems. As with all medicine, some problems – usually very minor – can happen. The MMRV vaccine sometimes causes mild problems such as fever, mild rash, or swelling of neck or cheek glands. On very rare occasions, the vaccine’s ingredients cause severe (anaphylactic) allergic reactions. Studies have also shown that children who get their first MMRV vaccine when they are 12-23 months old are about twice as likely to have a febrile seizure (seizure caused by a fever) 5-12 days following the shot, compared with those who get the MMR and varicella vaccines separately but at the same doctor visit. There has not been an increased risk of febrile seizures observed following vaccination with MMRV vaccine in children aged 4 to 6 years.
CDC and FDA monitor the safety of vaccines after they are licensed. Any problems detected with these vaccines will be reported to health officials, health care providers, and the public. Needed action will be taken to ensure the public’s health and safety.
CDC uses three systems to monitor vaccine safety:
- The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)– an early warning system that helps CDC and FDA monitor problems following vaccination. Anyone can report suspected vaccine reactions and issues to VAERS.
- The Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) – a collaboration between CDC and several health care organizations that allows ongoing monitoring and proactive searches of vaccine-related data.
- The Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment (CISA) Project– a partnership between CDC and several medical centers that conduct clinical research on vaccine-associated health risks in certain groups of people.
Before the vaccine was licensed for use in the United States, studies were conducted in children aged 12 to 23 months old. The studies found that a fever of 102° F or higher and rash occurred more frequently during the 42 days after the first dose of MMRV vaccine compared with separate injections of MMR and varicella vaccines. Soreness at the injection site was reported less often after MMRV vaccine than after MMR and varicella vaccines given in separate shots at the same visit. For more information, see “Results from Studies Before MMRV Vaccine Was Licensed”.
- MMRV Vaccine Information Statement [PDF-237 KB]
- Fact Sheet for Parents on Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Varicella
- Fact Sheet for Providers on MMR & Varicella Vaccines or MMRV Vaccine
- Frequently Asked Questions for Parents and Caregivers on MMRV Vaccines
- Frequently Asked Questions for Healthcare Providers on MMRV Vaccines
- Frequently Asked Questions about Febrile Seizures Following Childhood Vaccinations
- Frequently Asked Questions about Multiple Vaccines
Klein NP, Lewis E, Baxter R, et al. Measles-Containing Vaccines and Febrile Seizures in Children Age 4 to 6 Years. Pediatrics 2012.
CDC. Update: Recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) Regarding Administration of Combination MMRV Vaccine. MMWR 2008 Mar 14:57(10);258-260.
Hornig M, Briese T, Buie T, Bauman ML, Lauwers G, Siemetzki U, Hummel K, Rota PA, Bellini WJ, O'Leary JJ, Sheils O, Alden E, Pickering L, Lipkin WI. Lack of association between measles virus vaccine and autism with enteropathy: a case-control study. PLoS One 2008 Sep 4;3(9):e3140.