ACIP says either MMR or MMRV is okay

July 1, 2009

Two shots, or one? After a lot of study, the immunization division of the CDC say it?s up to you.

Two shots, or one? After a lot of consideration, the immunization division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say it’s up to you.

The Advisory Committee of Immunization Practices (ACIP) tried to tackle the question posed when a new combination vaccine entered the market. ProQuad mixed in the standard threesome of mumps, measles, and rubella immunizations with a fourth now-standard shot, varicella.

The MMRV four-pack could increase total immunizations because it reduces the total number of shots needed. ACIP recommended it over giving the MMR and V separately. But when early data in 2008 linked the MMRV vaccine to an increased risk of febrile seizures, ACIP had a working group look into its safety. That group recommended two separate shots.

ACIP, in an unusual move, rejected that advice. Pediatricians are free, it announced, to offer either separate or combined immunizations for children between 1 and 3 years old. The increased seizure risk was small enough to justify giving practitioners the choice. It did recommend going the MMRV route for 4-to-6-year-old immunizations, though.