Contraindications for measles vaccine, adverse events and how to manage them

Children who develop a severe allergic reaction should be referred immediately to a health facility, and should not be given measles vaccine again.

In around 20% of children, a mild fever lasting one to three days may occur approximately one week after immunization. A few children (less than 5%) develop a mild rash. Injection-site abscess or severe allergic reactions including rash, breathing difficulty and fainting occur very rarely.

Management of adverse events following immunization with measles vaccine

Adverse eventManagementComments
Low-grade fever Slight rash Give paracetamol syrup (5 ml) up to 4 doses Usually lasts 1 to 3 days
Abscess at injection site Amoxicillin syrup orally three times daily Refer urgently to a higher health facility
Severe rash, breathing difficulty, loss of consciousness Do not give measles vaccine again Refer the child to a higher health facility immediately

Summary of measles vaccine immunization characteristics

CategoryDescription
Type of vaccine Live-attenuated antiviral vaccine
Number of doses One in routine EPI schedule, plus one in supplementary campaigns
Schedule At 9 months in the EPI; after 12 months in campaigns
Additional early dose At 6 months in some circumstances
Contraindications Severe allergic reaction to previous dose
Adverse events Fever, rash and (rarely) severe allergic reaction or abscess
Special precautions None
Dosage 0.5 ml
Injection site Outer upper arm
Injection type Subcutaneous
Storage Store between +2°C and +8°C (Note: the vaccine powder may be frozen for long-term storage, but not the diluent or the reconstituted vaccine)
Last modified: Thursday, 29 May 2014, 9:12 AM