With the ongoing MR vaccine campaign, there is a lot of confusion between MR and MMR.
In our previous blogs, we have seen in detail about what MR means. In a nutshell, it stands for Measles & Rubella, two viral infections associated with fever & skin rash. These diseases have a lot of complications & morbidity, including congenital conditions. Hence, the extra dose of MR vaccine, to protect against the resurgence of infection.
Now that we have understood the importance of MR vaccine campaign, let us see what MMR is. The
extra “M” in MMR is not a mistake, nor is it the same as MR. The extra M stands for MUMPS.
The word “Mumps” originates from an old word for grimace known as “mump.” Mumps causes an inflammation of the parotid or salivary glands causing pain especially while moving the mouth. This causes one to grimace, hence the name.
It’s also called as “Gaalgunda” in Marathi and “Galsua” in Hindi.
Mumps is a viral infection which spreads through respiratory secretions and saliva. It causes fever,
headache, and swelling of salivary glands. But, the virus affects multiple organs in the body. As a
result, it can cause complications like meningitis, encephalitis, and pancreatitis. If it occurs after
puberty, it can also have gonadal involvement, more commonly in males.
The best treatment is to prevent mumps through vaccination. As data regarding diseases and their
patterns keeps accumulating, we change our vaccination schedules accordingly to give the best
possible protection to our children. India earlier has stand-alone Measles at 9 months of age with a
single dose of MMR at 15 months of age. Later it was found that the immunity waned and there was
a resurgence of these diseases in the adolescent age group.
This led to the 2 dose schedule of MMR at 15 months & 5 years of age to provide longer immunity.
The latest schedule of 2016 has changed it to a 3 dose schedule of MMR at 9 months, 15 months and 5 years.
This covers the whole spectrum of early protection, booster and a final booster dose to provide longer duration of immunity.
The MR vaccine is an extra dose which covers the entire population range across the changes in the
immunization schedules. It will help catch up and protect those segments of the population, which have
missed out on any doses of MMR due to changes in Immunization schedule.
Due to widespread awareness about MR campaign, an added benefit is that people are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of vaccination in preventing diseases. They are becoming conversant about benefits, side effects, and complications caused by these diseases. Parents are going back and opening their vaccination cards. This ensures that they take not only MR but also the other vaccines as per their schedule on time.
“Awareness leads to a quest for knowledge, knowledge means power, power to make decisions, decisions to fight against diseases and remain healthy.”