This four-in-one vaccine protects against measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella viruses. These diseases are easily prevented with immunization.
What is measles?
- Highly contagious infection easily spread by coughing and sneezing. The virus can survive in the air for several hours and infect others even when the infected person is not there anymore.
- Symptoms include high fever, coughing, rash, runny nose and watery red eyes
- Can to lead to complications such as ear infections, pneumonia (a lung infection), and in severe cases, brain damage, and even death
- Pregnant woman with measles may have a miscarriage or give birth prematurely
What is mumps?
- Contagious infection spread by coughing and sneezing or contact with spit (e.g. kissing, sharing drinks or toys that have been put in the mouth)
- Causes fever, headaches and swelling of the cheeks and jaw
- Can cause deafness, painful infections of the ovaries and testicles which can cause sterility in males
- Can lead to meningitis (an infection of the fluid and lining covering the brain and spinal cord)
What is rubella?
- Also known as German measles, spread by coughing and sneezing
- Rubella in pregnancy could cause miscarriage, stillbirth, or birth defects such as blindness, deafness, brain damage, heart problems. These babies can spread the virus a year or more after birth.
- Symptoms include fever, sore throat and joints, swollen glands in the neck, and a rash
- Can lead to chronic arthritis and blood clotting problems
What is varicella (chickenpox)?
- Highly contagious infection that causes an itchy rash or spots on the skin that look like small water blisters.
- Easily spread by touching the blister fluid or by coughing and sneezing. The virus can survive in the air for several hours and infect others even when the infected person is not there anymore.
- A pregnant woman with chickenpox can pass it on to her baby before birth
- Can lead to pneumonia, flesh eating disease or even death
- People who have had chicken pox are at risk of getting shingles later in life
Who should get MMRV vaccine?
- Children between 4-6 years of age
- Individuals 4-12 years of age as part of a catch up schedule
What if a needle is missed?
- You should get the next needle as soon as possible
- For children 4-12 years of age who didn’t follow the routine immunization schedule, a "catch-up" schedule will be recommended
What if I decide not to be immunized?
Choosing not to be immunized or delaying immunization puts you/your child at risk of getting sick with measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox. These vaccines are required by law (Immunization of School Pupils Act, 2014) for school attendance-varicella is only required for children born in 2010 and after. Students who are not vaccinated may be suspended from school.
Talk to your doctor/public health nurse if you:
- Had a bad reaction to a vaccine or an ingredient in the vaccine, had a serious reaction to neomycin
- or gelatine or have any other allergies*
- Are pregnant
- Take medications or have any diseases that lower the immune system or increase bleeding
- Feel very sick
- Had a vaccine within the last month
- Received immune globulin or blood products in the last year
- Plan to donate blood in the next 12 weeks
- Had chickenpox after the age of one year
Is MMRV vaccine safe?
Yes! You may have no reaction or mild symptoms that include:
- Redness, swelling, and pain where the needle went in
- Children may become fussy or sleepier than usual;
These normal reactions usually last between 12 and 24 hours.
Some children will have a rash and/or joint pain that last a few days.
When should I call my doctor?
Serious reactions after vaccination are very rare. Get immediate medical help if you/your child have any unusual symptoms such as:
- trouble breathing, swelling in your face/mouth and/or blotchy skin (hives)
- fever above 40°C (104°F);
- crying or fussing for more than 24 hours;
- worsening swelling, redness, and/or pain where the needle went in;
- unusual sleepiness (difficult to wake)
You know best. If you notice anything that is not normal after a vaccination, check with your healthcare provider.
Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any questions.
- Make sure to update your immunization record
- Notify the Health Unit each time your child receives a vaccine by phone (519-753-4937 ext. 451) or
Public Health Agency of Canada (Canadian Immunization Guide),
Publicly Funded Schedules for Ontario (March 2015)
This information is for general knowledge only and does not replace professional medical advice. Please note there is a cost for immunizations that are not included in
Ontario’s Publicly Funded Immunization Schedule. For more information contact us at 519-753-4937 ext. 492 or