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.
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.
Fever is the most common vaccine side effect, while other people have reported mild rashes. Joint pain can occur, as well.
Several health organizations, including the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recommend the vaccine.
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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