Tag Archives: booster

Getting the MMR booster after an adverse reaction

My post MMR and joint pain in toddlers got a ton of traffic.  It is still one of my most visited posts.  Only the breastfeeding husbands get more traffic.  (You pervs.)

I was inspired to write my original MMR post when I was starting to consider whether Lane should get her MMR booster at her 4-year checkup, after the reaction she had from the vaccine when she was 15 months old (knee pain with an unwillingness to walk for a week).  To say I was worried was an understatement.  Well, as a rule I’m not a worrier.  My one foray into wanting antidepressant medication after my mom died was a bit challenging – most antidepressants (at least nearly a decade ago) were also indicated as anti-anxiety, but since even being down and out I wasn’t all that anxious, my doctor was pretty concerned one of the standards — Prozac or Zoloft — would make me abandon all reasonable caution.  I ended up on Wellbutrin, which has a side effect of weight loss.  Oh, and seizures.  Luckily under its spell I had some of the former and none of the latter, and just generally a better ability to get out of bed in the morning.

Anyway, enough of that tangent!!  I was as worried about Lane getting her MMR booster as I’m generally capable of being.  I did a lot of reading, and talked to her pediatrician ad nauseum about it.  He was dubious of the vaccine causing the reaction, but at least was not obnoxious enough to be dismissive of my concerns.  He was supportive of checking her titers instead of doing the vaccine, he was just worried the school district would give us grief over her not getting the booster.

I cannot find where I initially read it, but here’s the gist of the knowledge I put together about the reaction Lane suffered.  Joint pain from MMR is caused by the rubella component of the vaccine.  People who have the joint pain reaction tend to have the reaction because they are, at the point they are vaccinated, susceptible to actual German measles infection, and thus their bodies react more strongly when the vaccine is introduced to their system, as joint pain is a symptom of actual German measles infection.

The alternative of checking her titers to see if she was properly protected by her first shot was alluring in avoiding a shot, but Lane is not a child who gets over shots or blood draws easily.  The little tiny bit of blood they had to draw to test her iron levels when she was three-and-a-half left her heaving and sobbing for like 20 minutes.  She definitely takes after her daddy in this respect.  So the idea of having her titers checked, and the full-on mega blood draw it meant certain trauma and freakout.  And if her titers didn’t check out right, she’d have to get the shot anyway, at which point the same reaction could have happened because she wasn’t properly protected against rubella.  If I went ahead and just got her booster, while chances are she didn’t actually need it, it’s because she didn’t need it that she would be protected from adverse side effects.  And if she did have another side effect, then that probably meant she needed the shot.

So, we went ahead with the shot.  This booster was administered in her arm, rather than her leg as it was last time.  And she came through it with flying colors.  A few tears at the initial administration, but the next day after the Band-Aid was gone, she couldn’t even tell me which arm she got her shot in.  I asked her nearly every day for the next couple weeks if she had any boo-boos on her arm and she always said no… and she would totally let me know if her arm hurt.

That about does it.  I just wanted to share for anyone looking for a follow-up.

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