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The rubella vaccine

Sarah Kelsey is a lifestyle writer, editor and spokesperson based in Toronto. She was the editor of AOL/The Huffington Post Canada’s StyleList, Style and Living sites. Today, she's a freelancer writing for some of North America’s top pub...

Preventing rubella

Rubella, aka German measles, is an infectious disease that can cause serious health problems for children, especially for unborn babies. The rubella vaccine is given to children as part of the MMR vaccination, which also protects against measles and mumps.

Preventing rubellaWhat is rubella?

Also known as German measles, rubella is a serious skin infection and disease. It's spread from person to person through the air but is less contagious than the measles or chickenpox.

Who gets it?

The vaccine is recommended for all children after their first birthdays and can be taken as part of the MMR vaccine (which also protects against measles and mumps). The second dose is usually given to children before they start school. It's especially important that women of childbearing age receive the vaccine before they get pregnant, because the virus can cause congenital rubella syndrome in developing fetuses.

What are the side effects?

Fever is the most common vaccine side effect, while other people have reported mild rashes. Joint pain can occur, as well.

Vaccine recommendations

Several health organizations, including the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recommend the vaccine.

What you need to know

Anyone who has an allergic reaction to the vaccine's first dose should not receive another. Some controversy surrounds the vaccine and whether it causes autism. While no scientific evidence exists to suggest the link, health organizations around the world are currently studying the issue.

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