Once a child has their first birthday, it is time for both the MMR and chicken pox (varicella) vaccines.
They can be given separately but at the same time, which means two needle sticks. They are also available in a combination vaccine MMRV, or one needle stick. Whether your child receives one or two needle sticks largely depends on what your pediatrician’s office keeps in stock.
A very large, 12-year study just published confirmed that both vaccines are safe and effective. During this time, more than 700,000 doses of MMR + V, or MMRV, were administered and their side effects tracked. There were no significant differences between the vaccines side effects and no new vaccine side effects were discovered.
Both MMR + V and MMRV slightly increase the chance for fever and febrile seizure in the 7-10 days after they are administered. MMRV has a slightly increased risk of febrile seizure (about 1 in 1,000 doses) compared the MMR + V, thought the difference is very small.
Reviewed by Dr. Sara Connolly, March 2019