Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) Vaccine

This vaccine combines three infectious agents to prevent measles, mumps and rubella (German measles). Vaccination is recommended if you are not up-to-date with routine shots. Many childhood diseases, especially measles, are still common in many parts of the world, including highly developed countries. Recently there have been major ongoing outbreaks of measles in children and adolescents who have not been vaccinated due to unfounded concerns about vaccinations in general.

If you are unsure about your or your child's level of protection against measles/mumps/rubella, see your health care provider for your personal vaccination records and to determine if you or your children require booster shots.

Some vaccines are immediately effective and can be given just prior to departure. Other vaccines require multiple doses before they provide protection. Therefore, it is generally advisable to consult your health care provider at least 4 to 5 weeks before you depart.

What are the side effects?

Most people who get the MMR vaccine do not have any serious problems.  Mild side effects include fever, mild rash and swelling of the glands in the cheeks or neck.  Rare side effects include seizures, temporary pain or stiffness in joints, and serious allergic reactions.

What is the dosage schedule?

MMR vaccine is usually administered in childhood with a first dose at 12 to 15 months of age, followed by a second dose at 4 to 6 years of age.  Persons who are 18 years of age or older and who are unsure of their vaccination history should receive one dose of the vaccine prior to travel. Infants aged 6-11 months who are traveling abroad should receive 1 dose of the vaccine. Infants who receive MMR vaccine before age 12 months should be considered potentially susceptible to all 3 diseases and should be revaccinated with 2 doses of MMR vaccine, the 1st dose administered when the child is aged 12-15 months (12 months if the child remains in an area where disease risk is high) and the 2nd dose at least 28 days later. Adolescents and adults who have not had measles or have not been vaccinated should get two doses, separated by at least 28 days.

From 2 to 5 per cent of people do not respond to their 1st dose of measles vaccine, which is why a 2nd (booster) dose is recommended. More than 99 per cent of people develops immunity to measles after 2 doses of a measles vaccine.