Author Archive

March 2012

In 1998 the State of Arizona recommended immunization for Hepatitis A for children ages 2 through 5 in out of home child care. It became required in January of 1999. In 2006, the CDC recommended universal immunization beginning at age 12 months. Hepatitis A is a highly contagious viral infection of the liver that causes fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and in many cases jaundice. It is transmitted from stools or secretions from an infected individual or through water or food. The first dose of vaccine is given after the 1st birthday, and a booster dose is given 6 to 12 months later. Although it is not required after age 6 years, we recommend it for all susceptible individuals.


At twelve months of age, the immunization for Measles (Rubeola), Mumps, and Rubella is given. The “MMR” is repeated at three to five years of age. Measles is a very contagious viral infection, which causes the child to be extremely sick with high fever, generalized red rash on the body, red watery eyes, marked runny nose, and deep cough. It is often associated with such complications as ear infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, and encephalitis. Approximately three percent of the children who contract natural measles will have permanent damage and occasionally death.

Mumps is a mild viral infection, which causes swelling of the glands in front of the ears and fever. It can cause swelling of the testicles or ovaries and sometimes causes a mild encephalitis. Though usually a mild disease, death has been reported.

German measles (Rubella) is a mild viral illness of approximately three days duration. Its greatest danger is to the developing fetus during the first three months of pregnancy because it can cause severe congenital defects (congenital rubella syndrome).

The Measles, Mumps, and Rubella vaccine has few side effects. Occasionally, ten to twelve days following the injection, a mild Measles like illness will develop characterized by generalized rash, sometimes a fever, and sometimes a mild nasal discharge. This generally lasts only two to three days and the children are not contagious. The only treatment required is rest and measures to control the fever.

The Rubella vaccine will rarely cause mild, transient joint pain in the arm that receives the injection. No treatment is required. There are no known side effects from Mumps vaccine.

The MMR vaccine has been the most studied and scrutinized vaccine because some people wrongly believe that it causes autism. To date, no study has ever shown that the MMR vaccine is a cause or trigger for autism.


The Chickenpox vaccine debuted in the U.S. in 1995, after over 30 years of development and testing. It is approximately 85% effective in preventing Chickenpox after one dose, and approximately 99% effective after two doses. Some vaccinated children will still get Chickenpox if exposed to the “wild” virus, but their illness will be milder than if they had not received the vaccine. Side effects are minimal and rare and consist of occasional low grade fever or chicken pox like rash. Some teens that get the second Varicella vaccine will get a red, warm circle around the injection site; this resolves without treatment in just a few days. The Varicella vaccine (or Varivax) is recommended for all children at 12 months of age, and a booster dose at age 4 to 6.

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