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New study says MMR vaccine may help prevent severe COVID-19 symptoms: Should you get the shot?

MMR vaccinations are given to all U.S. Navy recruits.

Vaccination with MMR may be especially effective for health care workers who can easily be exposed to COVID-19, say researchers.

As researchers continue to learn more about the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, they are coming closer to finding the cure for the deadly disease. In yet another development in the COVID-19 research, a new study has suggested that MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine may help protect against severe COVID-19 symptoms.

The study published in mBio, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology, noted that administering the MMR vaccine could serve as a preventive measure to dampen septic inflammation associated with the viral infection. Progressive lung inflammation and eventual sepsis is believed to be the cause of mortality in COVID-19 cases.

Vaccination with MMR may be especially effective for health care workers who can easily be exposed to COVID-19, they said.

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MMR vaccine linked to reduced COVID-19 death rates

The researchers cited that the 955 sailors on the USS Roosevelt who tested positive for COVID-19 showed milder symptoms, which they say may be because MMR vaccinations are given to all U.S. Navy recruits. Moreover, current data suggests reduced COVID-19 death rates in regions where people routinely receive the MMR vaccine, they pointed out.

"COVID-19 has not had a big impact on children, and the researchers hypothesize that one reason children are protected against viral infections that induce sepsis is their more recent and more frequent exposures to live attenuated vaccines that can also induce the trained suppressive MDSCs that limit inflammation and sepsis," IANS quoted authors as saying.

The researchers have proposed a clinical trial to test whether the MMR vaccine can protect against COVID-19. In the meantime, they suggest that all adults, especially health care workers and individuals in nursing homes get the MMR vaccine.

MMR vaccination in India

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends measles immunization for all children with 2 doses of measles vaccine, either alone, or in a measles-rubella (MR) or measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) combination. MMR vaccine has helped in eliminating measles, mumps and rubella from many developed countries. Although MMR vaccine is not a part of the national immunization programme of India, the Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP) recommends all parents who can afford it to offer it as two-dose schedule, one at 15-18 months and second at school entry (4-6 year of age). However, measles vaccine is given to all children in the country under the universal immunisation programme at 9-12 months of age and 2nd dose at 16-24 months of age.

The State immunization programme of Delhi included MMR vaccine in1999 as a single dose between 15-18 months.

Measles, mumps and rubella: Know these viral diseases

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease which is most common in children. Symptom of measles include high fever, which usually begins about 10 to 12 days after exposure to the virus, cold, redness of the eyes and rash. The virus spreads via coughing and sneezing, close personal contact or direct contact with infected nasal or throat secretions. The disease may lead to serious complications like blindness, encephalitis, severe diarrhoea, pneumonia, and even death. Measles Immunization Day is celebrated on 16th march every year to make people aware about this deadly disease.

Mumps is a contagious viral disease that causes swelling of the salivary glands. Early symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite. In severe cases, it can cause long-lasting problems including: orchitis (swelling of the testicles) in males, oophoritis (swelling of the ovaries) and/or mastitis (swelling of the breasts) in females, encephalitis (swelling of the brain), meningitis (swelling of the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord), loss of hearing. However, death due to mumps is rare.

Rubella, also called German measles or three-day measles, is a contagious viral infection caused by the rubella virus. This disease may cause mild symptoms or even no symptoms in most people. A red rash may start appearing around two weeks after exposure to the virus and last for three days. However, rubella isn't as infectious or as severe as measles.

The MMR vaccine has been found to be very effective in preventing measles, mumps and rubella.

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