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MMR Vaccine

1. Why get vaccinated?

Measles, mumps, and rubella are serious diseases. Before vaccines they were very common, especially among children.

These diseases spread from person to person through the air. You can easily catch them by being around someone who is already infected.

Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine can protect children (and adults) from all three of these diseases.

Thanks to successful vaccination programs these diseases are much less common in the U.S. than they used to be.  But if we stopped vaccinating they would return.

2. Who should get MMR vaccine and when?

Children should get 2 doses of MMR vaccine:

Some infants younger than 12 months should get a dose of MMR if they are traveling out of the country. (This dose will not count toward their routine series.)
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 either been vaccinated or had all three diseases. 

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

Children between 1 and 12 years of age can get a “combination” vaccine called MMRV, which contains both MMR and varicella (chickenpox) vaccines. There is a separate Vaccine Information Statement for MMRV.

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

Any of these might be a reason to not get the vaccine, or delay vaccination until later.

4. What are the risks from MMR vaccine?

A vaccine, like any medicine, is capable of causing serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. The risk of MMR vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small.

Getting MMR vaccine is much safer than getting measles, mumps or rubella. Most people who get MMR vaccine do not have any serious problems with it.

Mild problems

If these problems occur, it is usually within 6-14 days after the shot. They occur less often after the second dose.

Moderate problems

Severe problems (very rare)

These are so rare that it is hard to tell whether they are caused by the vaccine.

5. What if there is a serious reaction?

What should I look for?

What should I do?

VAERS is only for reporting reactions. They do not give medical advice.

6. The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) is a federal program that was created to compensate people who may have been injured by certain vaccines.

Persons who believe they may have been injured by a vaccine can learn about the program and about filing a claim by calling 1-800-338-2382 or visiting the VICP website at www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation.

7. How can I learn more?Ask your doctor.


Reference: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Last updated May 8, 2015