Measles, mumps and rubella are diseases that can cause serious complications or death. Children are especially at risk. The measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine has dramatically reduced cases of these diseases in the United States.

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What is a measles, mumps and rubella vaccine?

A measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine protects children and adults from infection by measles, mumps and rubella viruses. The MMR vaccine uses a live agent—a harmless or weakened amount of the live ingredient—that causes the body to fight the viruses.

Who should get a measles, mumps and rubella vaccine?

Healthcare providers recommend:

  • Children should get two MMR doses, starting at 12–15 months.
  • Teens and adults who aren’t vaccinated should get two MMR doses.
  • Anyone 6 months and older who is traveling internationally should be vaccinated.
  • Women who may get pregnant should make sure they are vaccinated.

Children from 1 to 12 years can also get a combination MMRV vaccine that includes a varicella (chickenpox) vaccine. Ask a healthcare provider for recommendations.

The following people should avoid an MMR vaccine or should wait:

  • Anyone with a severe allergic reaction to a previous MMR or MMRV vaccine
  • Anyone with a severe allergic reaction to an ingredient in the MMR vaccine
  • Pregnant women should wait until after delivery for an MMR vaccine; women should avoid getting pregnant for at least four weeks after an MMR vaccination

Talk with a healthcare provider for specific recommendations.

What are the side effects of a measles, mumps and rubella vaccine?

A MMR vaccine can cause mild side effects. These include fever, mild rash and swelling in the face or neck glands. Moderate side effects are rare, but can include joint pain, temporary blood platelet problems and fever-related seizures.

Any vaccine carries a very small risk of severe allergic reaction. Go to the ER if you experience difficulty breathing, dizziness, a fast heartbeat or swelling in the face.

If you or a loved one needs an MMR vaccine, contact the nearest CareNow® urgent care clinic. You can minimize your wait time with our Web Check-In®.