Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) Vaccine
The measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine protects people from 3 serious viral
diseases. The diseases are spread from direct contact with droplets from sneezes or
coughs of persons with the viruses.
Measles. Measles is an infection caused by a virus. It starts with cold-like symptoms including
runny nose; inflamed, red eyes; cough; and fever. A rash that starts on the face and
then develops on the body follows 2 to 4 days later. It can result in serious complications,
especially in those with weak immune systems.
Mumps. Mumps is also caused by a virus. It mainly affects the glands. Symptoms are swollen
saliva-producing glands in the neck, fever, headache, and muscle aches. A feared complication
is that it can affect the testicles in males and cause sterility. It can also cause
other serious complications.
Rubella (German measles). Rubella is an infection from a virus. It causes mild fever and rash
in infants and children. Pregnant women who get rubella have an increased chance of
having babies with birth defects.
A combination vaccine provides protection against all 3 diseases. Another vaccine,
the MMRV, protects against measles, mumps, and rubella, and also against chicken pox
When are MMR vaccines given?
MMR vaccines are given in 2 doses to babies and children at these recommended ages:
12 to 15 months
4 to 6 years
For teens who did not get the shots at the recommended ages, 2-doses are given as
catch-up. The second dose will be given at least 4 weeks after the first.
Children with mild illnesses may still get the vaccine. But if a child is moderately
or severely ill, it's generally best to wait. Always talk with your child's healthcare
provider for instruction.
Some children should not get the MMR vaccine. These include:
Children who have ever had a severe allergic reaction to gelatin or to the antibiotic
Children who have had a previous serious reaction to the MMR vaccine
Some children with immune system conditions such as HIV/AIDS or cancer
Children taking medicines that weaken the immune system, such as steroids
Children with a weak immune system from disease or medical treatments
Children who have had other vaccines in the last 4 weeks
Children who have had a recent blood transfusion or had a condition that makes them
bruise or bleed easily
Your child's healthcare provider will advise you about vaccines in these and other
Pregnant women, or women who plan to become pregnant within a month, should not get
the MMR vaccine. After the baby is delivered, 1 dose of vaccine is advised before
being discharged home for women who don't have evidence of immunity.
Nonpregnant adults who don't have evidence of immunity to measles, mumps, or rubella,
should be vaccinated as recommended, At least one dose is advised. Some people may
need 2 doses.
What are the risks of MMR vaccines?
Vaccines are usually very safe. But they carry a small risk of side effects, such
as an allergic reaction. Getting an MMR vaccine is much safer than contracting any
of the 3 diseases. Common reactions to these vaccines may include the following:
How do I care for my child after the MMR vaccines?
Give your child over-the-counter pain and fever-lowering medicine, as instructed by
your child's healthcare provider. Don't give your child aspirin.
If your child has symptoms of a severe reaction, which are usually rare, call 911 or get emergency medical help. These symptoms include:
Changes in behavior
Rash all over the body