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Am J Epidemiol. 1982 Jan;115(1):19-25.

A controlled comparison of joint reactions among women receiving one of two rubella vaccines.


While transient rheumatic side-effects are not uncommon in women receiving any of the attenuated rubella virus vaccines yet developed, few comparative data are available on the only rubella vaccine currently available in the United States - the RA 27/3 vaccine. In this study, the frequency and severity of joint reactions were compared among seronegative women receiving HPV77DE5 vaccine (n = 59) or RA 27/3 vaccine (n = 53), and in seropositive vaccinees receiving either vaccine (n = 60). The proportions of vaccinees developing arthralgia/arthritis were similar (29 per cent and 26 per cent, respectively) in the seronegative groups, and were significantly higher than in the seropositive control group (3%). The onset of symptoms was earlier and their duration was briefer in those receiving RA 27/3 vaccine compared to the HPV77DE5 vaccine recipients. No chronic or recurrent symptoms were observed. These data, along with previous studies, suggest that while transient rheumatic reactions following rubella vaccination are not uncommon, they are not associated with serious disability and should not interfere with ongoing immunization programs.

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