SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — As measles cases soar to the second highest in 25 years, the CDC cites the anti-vaccination movement as a key contributor. While most blame misinformation and a discredited study linking the measles vaccine to autism, some anti-vaxxers point to other side effects and vaccine injuries.
So we wanted to know, how common are serious side effects from the measles vaccine, and how does that compare to serious side effects from measles virus itself?
Many anti-vaxxers will tell you their primary concerns are the known side effects listed on the insert that comes with the MMR vaccine. Those include mild soreness, fever, and rash.
But there are some more significant, albeit rare, side effects. According to the CDC and the vaccine manufacturer, those include seizures, a bleeding disorder, allergic reactions, and brain swelling.
The measles virus itself can cause some similar serious side effects. According to the CDC, about one out of every 1,000 children with measles will develop brain swelling, which can lead to convulsions, deafness or intellectual disabilities.
They also estimate at least one out of every 1,000 children with measles will die, and as many as one out of every 20 kids will get pneumonia, the most common cause of death for children with measles.
So what about the vaccines?
There have been more than 250 reported deaths linked to the MMR vaccine and more than 5,500 "serious" reactions reported since 1990, according to a database that tracks adverse reactions. A disclaimer from the database notes they do not verify the reports.
There have also been more than 1,200 claims filed with the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program for vaccine injuries or deaths linked to measles vaccinations. The court only paid out about 56%. The VICP is a "no-fault" system designed to compensate individuals, or families of individuals, who have been injured by a childhood vaccine."
Now, doctors and the CDC stress complications from the disease are more common than complications from the vaccine itself. Experts say a 90-95% vaccination rate is needed for heard of immunity to prevent outbreaks and protect people who are too sick or too young to get the vaccine.
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