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Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR)

Vaccine Information Statement

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Updated December 07, 2003

1. Why get vaccinated?

Measles, mumps, and rubella are serious diseases.

Measles

  • Measles virus causes rash, cough, runny nose, eye irritation, and fever.
  • It can lead to ear infection, pneumonia, seizures (jerking and staring), brain damage, and death.

Mumps

  • Mumps virus causes fever, headache, and swollen glands.
  • It can lead to deafness, meningitis (infection of the brain and spinal cord covering), painful swelling of the testicles or ovaries, and, rarely, death.

Rubella (German Measles)

  • Rubella virus causes rash, mild fever, and arthritis (mostly in women).
  • If a woman gets rubella while she is pregnant, she could have a miscarriage or her baby could be born with serious birth defects.

You or your child could catch these diseases by being around someone who has them. They spread from person to person through the air.

Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine can prevent these diseases.

Most children who get their MMR shots will not get these diseases. Many more children would get them if we stopped vaccinating.

2. Who should get MMR vaccine and when?

Children should get 2 doses of MMR vaccine:

  • The first at 12-15 months of age
  • and the second at 4-6 years of age.

These are the recommended ages. But children can get the second dose at any age, as long as it is at least 28 days after the first dose.

Some adults should also get MMR vaccine:

Generally, anyone 18 years of age or older, who was born after 1956, should get at least one dose of MMR vaccine, unless they can show that they have had either the vaccines or the diseases.

Ask your doctor or nurse for more information.

MMR vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines.

3. Some people should not get MMR vaccine or should wait

  • People should not get MMR vaccine who have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to gelatin, the antibiotic neomycin, or a previous dose of MMR vaccine.

  • People who are moderately or severely ill at the time the shot is scheduled should usually wait until they recover before getting MMR vaccine.

  • Pregnant women should wait to get MMR vaccine until after they have given birth. Women should avoid getting pregnant for 4 weeks after getting MMR vaccine.

  • Some people should check with their doctor about whether they should get MMR vaccine, including anyone who:
    • Has HIV/AIDS, or another disease that affects the immune system
    • Is being treated with drugs that affect the immune system, such as steroids, for 2 weeks or longer.
    • Has any kind of cancer
    • Is taking cancer treatment with x-rays or drugs
    • Has ever had a low platelet count (a blood disorder)
  • People who recently had a transfusion or were given other blood products should ask their doctor when they may get MMR vaccine

Ask your doctor or nurse for more information.

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