Measles, Mumps and Rubella Vaccine



Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) Information

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that can cause rash, cough, runny nose, eye irritation, and fever. It can lead to more serious complications, such as ear infection, pneumonia, seizures, brain damage, and death. Infection with measles virus is more likely in late winter and spring but can occur any time.

Mumps is a viral disease that can cause fever, headache, and swollen glands. Severe complications include meningitis, an infection of the covering of the brain; painful swelling of the testes, ovaries, or pancreas; and death. Before a vaccine was available, mumps caused frequent outbreaks among military personnel, and was one of the most common causes of childhood deafness. Infection with mumps is more likely in late winter and spring but can occur any time.

Rubella, commonly called "German measles," is a viral disease that can cause mild fever, rash, and arthritis. The rubella rash is sometimes mistaken for the measles or scarlet fever. If an expectant mother becomes infected during early pregnancy, there is a high risk of infection in the fetus, which can bring harm to the unborn baby or cause a miscarriage. Babies born to mothers with rubella may suffer from eye problems, heart defects, or deafness. Infection with rubella is more likely in late winter and early spring.

All three diseases are spread from person to person through coughing and sneezing.

Measles, Mumps and Rubella Vaccine Information

Measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines are available as individual vaccines or as combination vaccines with one, two, or even three other vaccines.

  • MMR vaccine is a commonly used combination vaccine that includes protection against measles, mumps, and rubella.
  • MMRV vaccine is another combination vaccine that includes protection against measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (chickenpox).

MMR vaccine is given as an injection into the arm underneath the skin, which is known as a subcutaneous (SC) injection.

Who Should Receive the Measles, Mumps and Rubella Vaccine?

  • All children 12 months and older
  • People born in 1957 or later who do not have documented evidence of immunity

Measles, Mumps and Rubella Vaccine Schedule

  • Children 12 months and older (Routine schedule)
    • -Two doses: First dose should be given at 12-15 months old; second dose should be given at 4-6 years old
  • Adults born in 1957 or later
    • -Single dose
    • -People in high-risk groups, such as healthcare workers, students entering college or other post-high school educational institutions, and international travelers, should also receive a second dose, separated by at least 28 days
  • Children 12 months through 12 years old
    • -Two doses separated by at least 3 months (for MMRV)

Measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines may be given at the same time as other vaccines.

Side Effects

Mild-to-Moderate Problems

  • Fever, rash, and seizures
  • Swollen glands in the cheeks or neck
  • Temporary pain and stiffness in the joints
  • Temporary low blood platelet count

Severe Problems (Rare)

  • Deafness
  • Permanent brain damage
  • Serious allergic reactions, with symptoms including:
    • -Difficulty breathing
    • -Wheezing
    • -Hives
    • -Pale skin
    • -Fast heartbeat
    • -Dizziness

Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help ease pain and reduce fever.

It is extremely rare for this vaccine to cause serious harm or death. If the person getting the vaccine has a serious reaction, call the doctor or seek immediate medical attention.

Who Should Not Receive the Measles, Mumps and Rubella Vaccination

  • Those with moderate or severe illness (for example, a severe cold, flu or infection of the sinuses or lungs) should not receive the vaccine until symptoms of the illness improve.
  • Women who are pregnant should not receive the MMR vaccine until after they have given birth. Women should avoid getting pregnant for 4 weeks after getting MMR vaccine.
  • Anyone with a hypersensitivity or allergy to gelatin or the antibiotic neomycin.
  • Those who previously had a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction to the vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine should not be vaccinated.
  • Ask your doctor whether you should receive the MMR vaccine if you:
    • -Have a weakened immune system due to HIV/AIDS or another disease
    • -Are receiving long-term treatment with steroids (such as prednisone)
    • -Have cancer or are receiving cancer treatment with radiation therapy or chemotherapy medication
    • -Have a low blood platelet count
    • -Recently received a blood transfusion or blood product

Additional Information

Tell your doctor or a healthcare provider if the person getting the vaccine has any severe allergies.

Call the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at 800-232-4636 or visit the CDC website, at cdc.gov/vaccines, for more vaccine information.

This publication should be used for general educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Be sure to contact your doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider for more information about human papillomavirus. Although it is intended to be accurate, neither Walgreen Co., its subsidiaries or affiliates, nor any other party assumes liability for loss or damage due to reliance on this publication.

References

Atkinson W, Hamborsky J, McIntyre L, Wolfe S, eds. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases. 10th ed. Washington, DC: Public Health Foundation, 2007.

Vaccine Information Statement: measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). March 13, 2008. cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/vis/default.htm. Accessed April 2008.


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