MMR vaccinations are given by injection in two doses:
- at age 12-15 months
- at age 4-6 years
Children traveling outside the United States should get the vaccine as early as 6 months of age. Those who remain in an area where disease risk is high should receive two additional doses: at 12 months and then at least 4 weeks later.
Why the Vaccine Is Recommended
Measles, mumps, and rubella are infections that can lead to significant illness. More than 95% of children receiving MMR will be protected from the three diseases throughout their lives.
Serious problems such as allergic reactions are rare. Potential mild to moderate reactions include rash, fever, swollen cheeks, febrile seizures, and mild joint pain.
When to Delay or Avoid Immunization
The vaccine is not recommended if:
- your child is currently sick, although simple colds or other minor illnesses should not prevent immunization
- your child had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of MMR vaccine, to gelatin, or to the antibiotic neomycin
Talk to your doctor about whether it's a good idea for your child to be vaccinated if he or she:
- recently received gamma globulin or a blood transfusion
- has a medical problem that affects the immune system, such as cancer
- is taking prednisone, steroids, or other immunosuppressive drugs
- is undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy
- has ever had a low platelet count
Your doctor may determine that the benefits of vaccinating your child outweigh the potential risks.
Pregnant women should not receive the MMR vaccine until after childbirth.
Caring for Your Child After Immunization
If a rash develops without other symptoms, no treatment is necessary and it should resolve within several days. Pain and fever may be treated with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Check with your doctor to see if you can give either medication, and find out the appropriate dose.
When to Call the Doctor
- Call if you aren't sure if the vaccine should be postponed or avoided.
- Call if there are problems after the immunization.
Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: February 2013
|National Immunization Program This website has information about immunizations. Call: (800) 232-2522|
|Immunization Action Coalition This organization is a source of childhood, adolescent, and adult immunization information as well as hepatitis B educational materials.|
|CDC Immunization: Pre-teens and Adolescents CDC site provides materials in English and Spanish for parents, teens, pre-teens, and health care providers about vaccines and the diseases they prevent.|
|The History of Vaccines The History of Vaccines is an informational, educational website created by The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the oldest professional society in the United States.|
|Your Child's Immunizations Immunizations protect your child from potentially fatal diseases. Find out what vaccines your child needs to grow up healthy.|
|The Risks of Postponing or Avoiding Vaccinations Immunization is the best way to protect kids from preventable diseases. Yet some parents are skipping vaccinations - a risky choice could affect not only their kids' health but yours, too.|
|Frequently Asked Questions About Immunizations Immunizations have protected millions of children from potentially deadly diseases. Learn about immunizations and find out exactly what they do - and what they don't.|
|Encephalitis Encephalitis is a rare brain inflammation caused by a virus. The best way to avoid encephalitis is to prevent the illnesses that may lead to it.|
|Is There a Connection Between Vaccines and Autism? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|Measles Measles, best known for its typical skin rash, is very rare, and a child who is properly vaccinated is extremely unlikely to contract the disease.|
|Rubella (German Measles) Rubella infection, or German measles, is a generally mild disease in kids that can be prevented with vaccination. Its primary medical danger is to pregnant women because it can affect developing babies.|
|Immunization Schedule Which vaccines does your child need to receive and when? Use this immunization schedule as a handy reference.|
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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