MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) Vaccine

The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps, and rubella (German measles). MMR vaccinations are given by injection in two doses. The first is administered at age 12 to 15 months; the second generally is given at age 4 to 6 years.

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.

Possible Risks

Serious problems are rare. Potential mild to moderate adverse effects include rash, fever, swollen cheeks, febrile seizures, and mild joint pain.

When to Delay or Avoid Immunization

  • if your child is currently sick, although simple colds or other minor illnesses should not prevent immunization
  • if your child has an allergy to eggs, gelatin, or to the antibiotic neomycin that has required medical treatment
  • if your child has recently received gamma globulin or a blood transfusion
  • if your child has immune system problems related to cancer
  • if your child is taking prednisone, steroids, or other immunosuppressive drugs
  • if your child is undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy

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 about the appropriate dose.

When to Call the Doctor

  • if you aren't sure if the vaccine should be postponed or avoided
  • if there are problems after the immunization