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Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR)

I am allergic to eggs; is it safe for me to receive the MMR vaccine?

Yes, the MMR vaccine can be given to individuals who are allergic to eggs, as anaphylactic reactions from MMR- containing vaccines have been associated with other vaccine components.

Herpes Zoster (Shingles)

Can I spread herpes zoster?

You cannot spread shingles, as it is a reactivation of the chickenpox virus. If an individual who has not had the chickenpox has direct contact with the rash, the individual would develop chickenpox. This can be prevented by keeping the rash covered.

Does everyone need the shingles vaccine?

It is recommended that all adults 60 years of age and older, except for individuals with the risk factors listed below, receive the vaccine. These risk factors include:

  • Having a weakened immune system due to an immunosuppressive disease or cancer treatments

  • Having had a life-threatening allergic reaction to gelatin, neomycin, or another component of the shingles vaccine

  • Being pregnant or possibly becoming pregnant within 1 month

  • Having a temperature of 101.3 ºF or higher.

If I am pregnant or want to become pregnant, is it safe for me to receive this vaccine?

The vaccine should not be administered to pregnant women or women who desire to become pregnant within 1 month.  Although the package insert states “within 3 months,” the ACIP reviewed data and determined that 1 month is a safe interval to wait.

Varicella

I am pregnant. Should I receive the chickenpox vaccine?
No.  Pregnancy is a contraindication for varicella-containing vaccines.


I want to get pregnant and am receiving prenatal care. Is this vaccine safe for me?
 

The American Academy of Pediatrics and ACIP recommend that women do not become pregnant within 1 month of receiving any varicella-containing vaccine. The package insert for the chickenpox vaccine recommends for women not to become pregnant “within 3 months” of receiving a dose of the vaccine. The live virus puts the fetus at risk for congenital varicella syndrome.


What is congenital varicella syndrome?
 

If a woman is infected with varicella during her pregnancy, the fetus is at risk for developing congenital varicella syndrome. It is characterized by low birthweight, cutaneous scarring, limb hypoplasia, microcephaly, cortical atrophy, chorioretinitis, cataracts, and other anomalies.


Is the chickenpox vaccine a required vaccine in my (or my child's) school district?    
 

This depends on where you live. Check to see the requirements in your state.

Meningococcus

I am not sure if I need the meningococcus vaccine; should I ask my doctor for it?

You should receive the MCV4 vaccine if:

  • You are an unvaccinated adolescent between the ages of 11–18 years
  • You are a college freshmen living in a dormitory
  • You are a military recruit
  • You have a damaged spleen or your spleen has been removed
  • You have terminal complement deficiency
  • You are a microbiologist who is routinely exposed to Neisseria meningitidis (the causal pathogen)
  • You are traveling or residing in countries in which the disease is common.


You should receive the MPSV4 vaccine if:

  • You are above the age of 55 years
  • It is indicated when pregnant.


I am moving into a freshman dormitory, do I need this vaccine?
 

Yes, the CDC recommends that all freshmen living in dorms receive the MCV4 vaccine. The risk for meningococcal disease is three times higher for freshmen living in a dorm than other freshmen.

Hepatitis A

I am pregnant. Should I receive the hepatitis A vaccine?
 

The hepatitis A vaccine has not been approved for pregnant women. The vaccine is produced from an inactivated virus, so the theoretical risks of damage to the fetus are expected to be low.  The theoretical risk should be compared with the risk factors of your exposure to HAV.

Who is at risk for hepatitis A?
 

Although anyone can get hepatitis A, in the United States, certain groups of people are at higher risk, such as individuals who:

  • Travel to or live in countries where hepatitis A is common

  • Are men who have sexual contact with other men

  • Use illegal drugs, whether injected or not

  • Have clotting-factor disorders, such as hemophilia

  • Live with someone who has hepatitis A

  • Have oral or anal sexual contact with someone who has hepatitis A.


 




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