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Vaccine. 2009 Feb 25;27(9):1422-5. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2008.12.038. Epub 2009 Jan 13.

No evidence of an increase of bacterial and viral infections following Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine.

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Immunisation Department, Health Protection Agency Centre for Infections, 61 Colindale Avenue, London NW9 5EQ, United Kingdom.


The suggestion that multi-antigen vaccines might overload the immune system has led to calls for single antigen vaccines. In 2003 we showed that rather than an increase there appeared to be a reduced risk of severe bacterial infection in the three months following Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine (MMR). The present analysis of illnesses in a general population is based on an additional 10 years of data for bacterial infections and also includes admissions with viral infections. Analyses were carried out using the self-controlled case-series method and separately for bacterial and viral infection cases, using risk periods of 0-30 days, 31-60 days and 61-90 days post MMR vaccine. An analysis was also carried out for those cases which were given MMR and Meningococcal serogroup C (MCC) vaccines concomitantly. A reduced risk was seen in the 0-30-day period for both bacterial infection (relative incidence=0.68, 95% CI 0.54-0.86) and viral infections (relative incidence=0.68, 95% CI 0.49-0.93). There was no increased risk in any period when looking at combined viral or bacterial infections or for individual infections with the single exception of an increased risk in the 31-60 days post vaccination period for herpes infections (relative incidence=1.69, 95% CI 1.06-2.70). For the children given Meningococcal group C vaccines concomitantly no significantly increased risk was seen in either the bacterial (relative incidence=0.54, 95% CI 0.26-1.13) or viral cases (relative incidence=0.46, 95% CI 0.11-1.93). Our study confirms that the MMR vaccine does not increase the risk of invasive bacterial or viral infection in the 90 days after the vaccination and does not support the hypothesis that there is an induced immune deficiency due to overload from multi-antigen vaccines.

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