Vaccines and Seizures
You may have heard about a connection between febrile seizures and vaccinations, specifically the combined measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella vaccine (MMRV). Studies found that 1- to 2-year-olds who received the MMRV combination vaccine were slightly more likely to have febrile seizures that those who received the MMR and varicella vaccines separately -- probably related to the fact that infants have a higher rate of fever after the MMRV than they do after having MMR and varicella vaccines as separate injections. The American Academy of Pediatrics allows pediatricians to give either MMR or MMRV, but if they want to give MMRV as the first dose they need to inform families about the risks and let parents decide whether they want their child to receive an additional injection or have the slightly increased risk of a febrile seizure. (The second dose of MMRV, given between 4 and 6 years, is not associated with a higher risk of febrile seizures.)
Nicola Klein, M.D., codirector of the Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center in Oakland, California, advises parents to put the issue in perspective: "The overall risk for febrile seizures after any measles-containing vaccine is low -- less than one febrile seizure per 1,000 injections. It is more common for a child to have a febrile seizure caused by a simple cold than by an immunization." Still concerned? Talk to your pediatrician.
Originally published in the March 2012 issue of Parents magazine.
All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.