The Truth About The MMR

Emory received his MMR immunization last Monday. We were told that any side effects associated with this vaccine would kick in after 7 to 10 days. We hit day seven and nothing happened and we thought, “Awesome! We’re in the clear!”

We were wrong.

Yesterday I noticed a few red spots on his face—just four—and lifted his shirt to check for more. Sure enough, there were a few more spots on his torso. At that point I took his temperature—a solid 100 degrees.

He was cranky all day, but it wasn’t any worse than whenever he cut his molars. We gave him some Tylenol and he was fine by morning. He’s back to his usual, insane, toddling self.

But we did notice something regarding the MMR and its apparent side-effects. They won’t tell you about this. So I am going to take the opportunity to do so. I hope you’re prepared. You may even want to sit down.

The MMR makes babies speak. It’s true! I watched it happen.

Prior to having been vaccinated, Em said a few words such as Mama, Dada, (a warped version of) Kitty Cat (that sounded like “Keecah”), Night Night (that sounded like this: “Nighnah”) and Hi. That’s pretty much it.

But since receiving the MMR words have been flying out. He’s like a little tape recorder! He now says Cracker, Blue, Blueberries, Mama (clear as day), Kitty Cat, Daddy, Hi, Elmo, Baby, Finished (not very well, however), Bubble and One, Two, Three.

I have deduced that the MMR vaccine makes babies speak. It may sound absurd, but then again, so does suggesting it causes autism.

Speaking of the MMR, there is a fantastic This American Life episode about a family who refused the MMR for their child. At age seven, he traveled overseas and brought the measles virus back home with him. The episode is about how he and his family brought an entire town to a screeching halt.

While all of that may sound really serious, it’s actually very funny. It’s well worth the listen.

(I know! Can you believe how much I’ve changed when it comes to immunizations? I am shocked by my transformation!)


  1. The same thing happened to my nephew. He got red spots all over his body and had a temperature after the same immunization. It eventually went away…but not before his parents took him to the ER worried.


  2. Apparently that side effect is very common. I’m glad we knew about it! Otherwise, I probably would have been worried as well.


  3. I also got my son the MMR. He had a fever about 8 days after the shot that lasted two days off and on. Got no higher than 101.9. His rash came after the fever, minor spotting all over his torso and legs (very faint) and lasted 2-3 days. He was cranky, but I agree, it was nothing new. It did not help his speaking, but he is 4 months younger than Emory. It did however cause a complete solids strike and he lived on nothing but breastmilk and a few goldfish cracker for 4 days! That was interesting.

    After he had the shot a lot of local mothers began talking about the evils of MMR. I had always dismissed, what I assumed to be panicky rumors, as just that. All that talk and all the babies I know who haven’t been vaccinated, sent me into a panic of “what-ifs”. I have since calmed down and I’m glad I allowed him to get his shots.


  4. Nearly everything has an associated risk. The question becomes whether your child is at greater risk with or without immunizations. My personal view, not that it matters, is to go with the immunizations. But, I wouldn’t harange a parent that chose not to immunize.

    Em seems like a great kid. I wish you and Toby had been my parents.


  5. I agree. I think that it’s for the greater good that children be immunized.

    StFarmer, i have always said as much, but you’re too kind.


  6. My daughter had similar reactions but until I read this post I didn’t put two and two together. I actually thought she was coming down with the Chicken Pox even though she had been immunized. This also explains why she boycotted food for a week.

    We noticed a dramatic increase in her vocabulary once all of the symptoms went away but I am not so sure it is linked to the shot ;)


  7. Totally. I think that’s the point I wasn’t really doing a great job at making. I would guess that autism kicks in around the time that shot is given because of something that happens to them. You know what I mean? It’s not the shot, it’s development. And for whatever reason, between a year and 17 months, their brain turns on in some ways.

    That’s my uneducated guess. But yeah, nothing to do with the shot.

    I hope folks know that I was kidding. heh


  8. There is a major flaw with your purported parallel: it is normal development to go from non-speaking to speaking; it is not normal to go from speaking to non-speaking.

    Autism is not a simple disease to diagnose. Nor is the correlation with the timing of a vaccination easy to dissect. The timing of the vaccine and the timing of autism’s manifestation creates a confounding variable that cannot be overcome with epidemiological study. Therein lies a problem…

    Moreover, the concern for autism is not the only concern a parent may have which leads him or her to decide against vaccines. Much of the concern for me falls under the category of “bad science.” As a science major in college (with honors, at a major university, btw), there was much I learned about causation vs. correlation, about bias in reasearch, about the economics of science in academia (and their similarities and differences among and between the economics of science in the pharmaceutical industry and in government). Following graduation and into parenthood, there was more to learn regarding not only new and updating available information and vaccines, but also regarding the changing field of medicine and how doctors operate their practices, receive parents’ concerns, and in-turn, tend to their roles in public health by relaying those concerns through the proper dissemenating channels.

    Bottom line: 1) my child will not be someone’s guinea pig insofar as I can help it, 2) my child will not be someone’s cash cow unless it is for *my child’s* benefit, and 3) (and let this be the “not so fast” for those who think I’m simply a spoiled, uppity party pooper on the utopian concept of herd immunity:) I will not jeopardize my child’s (and potentially her child’s) immune system by administering a vaccine to her if it does work as it is intended to work, and I will not place false hope in a vaccine that does not work as it is intended to work.

    I have researched the diseases for which there are available vaccines and made myself aware of their transmission, their symptoms, and any available treatments. Proper precautions will be taken and remedies sought if necessary and available. I am not perfect, but all I can do is my best by my child; that does not mean I do not try to do what’s best by all children at the same time. The decision to not vaccinate is not one I took lightly or without careful consideration and compassion for my own as well as for others.

    The risk assessment for my children is different for the risk assessment for “public health.” That researched, careful, compassioned, and tailored assessment does not make me an irresponsible or selfish person, it makes me a parent.


  9. So, I thought I was the only one that noticed my daughter, Jenna, who just received the MMR two weeks ago, poof and bring back an identical twin with an expanded vocabulary. She now says, I go, byebye, nightnight, momma, dog, cat, grandma, papa, look… pretty much overnight. Before her MMR she said momma and that’s about it. I’m glad I’m not the only one that noticed the change!



  10. um, my son didn’t get the MMR at 18 months, but magically started speaking around the week he turned 18 months, too. a language explosion at that age is quite common and can turn on like a lightbulb. i don’t it has anything to do with the vaccination.


  11. Apparently there’s a vaccination being offered now that targets the sense of humor. Thank goodness. Lightheartedness is overrated.


  12. Hi, when your child gets the reaction with the red bumps and slight fever it is actually a good thing. It means that they have responded well to the mmr, and that they will become immune. I was very concerned about the mmr, with all the controversy about autism. I had a talk with my son’s school nurse about this and she gave me all the facts. Gave it to my kids and they were perfectly fine!! I think autism is genetic, and that it comes out around the time of this vaccine. I have a friend who waited and her son is autistic, but knew way before she gave the mmr. For those of you that are nervous don’t be. To much emphasis on the vaccines causing autism, when they have been around forever. Good Luck!!


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