According to the results of a risk-interval analysis, there is no difference in the relative risk of febrile seizures following receipt of a measles-containing vaccine in the second year of life for children born preterm (<37 weeks) vs those born full-term (≥37 weeks).

The study utilized the Vaccine Safety Datalink and included children who received the first dose of a measles-containing vaccine between 12 and 23 months old during the study period of January 1, 2003 to September 20, 2015. “Using risk-interval analysis, we estimated the incidence rate ratio (IRR) for seizures in the 7 through 10 days (risk period) vs 15 through 42 days (control period) following receipt of measles-containing vaccines in children born preterm (<37 weeks gestation age) and those born full-term (≥37 weeks),” the authors explained. 

Children with a history of seizure or conditions strongly correlated to seizure before 12 months of age were excluded from the study.

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A total of 532,375 children were included. Of these, 45,343 (8.5%) were born pre-term and 487,032 (91.5%) were born full-term. The authors reported, “The IRRs of febrile seizures 7 through 10 days compared with 15 through 42 days after receipt of measles-containing vaccine were 3.9 (95% CI: 2.5–6.0) in preterm children and 3.2 (2.7–3.7) in full-term children; the ratio of IRRs: was 1.2 (0.76–1.9), P=.41.” They added that similar IRRs were observed when comparing gestational age groups, type of vaccine received (MMR vs MMRV), and vaccination age (12–15 months vs 16–23 months). 

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Similar incidence rates of febrile seizures were observed following administration of a measles-containing vaccine in the second year of life for children born preterm and full-term. The study authors concluded, “Our results support the current ACIP [Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices] recommendations to administer the first dose of measles-containing vaccine at age 12 through 15 months for all children, including those born preterm.”


McClure D L et al. Similar relative risks of seizures following measles containing vaccination in children born preterm compared to full-term without previous seizures or seizure-related disorders. Vaccine. DOI:

This article originally appeared on MPR