Children get the MMR vaccine by injection in 2 doses:
at age 12–15 months
at age 4–6 years
Children traveling outside the United States can get the vaccine as early as 6
months of age. They still should get the routine doses at 12–15 months and 4–6
years of age. If they're staying in an area where disease risk is high, they should
get the first dose at 12 months and the second at least 4 weeks later.
Older children also can get the vaccine if they didn't get it when they were younger.
Sometimes doctors give MMR in combination with the chickenpox
vaccine in a vaccine called MMRV.
The U.S. has had recent outbreaks of mumps and measles. An outbreak is when a disease
happens in greater numbers than expected in a particular area. During an outbreak,
doctors may recommend a third vaccine dose for some people. If you have questions
about vaccinating your family during an outbreak, call your doctor or your state or
local health department.
Why Is MMR Recommended?
Measles, mumps, and rubella are infections that can lead to serious illness. More
than 95% of children who get the MMR vaccine will be protected from the three diseases
throughout their lives.
Possible Risks of the MMR Vaccine
Serious problems such as allergic reactions are rare. Mild to moderate side effects
can happen, such as rash, fever, swollen
cheeks, febrile seizures, and mild
When to Delay or Avoid MMR Immunization
The MMR vaccine is not recommended if your child:
had a serious allergic reaction
to an earlier dose of MMR vaccine, or components of the vaccine, which include gelatin
and the antibiotic neomycin
Talk to your doctor about whether the vaccine is a good idea if your child:
is currently sick. But simple colds or
other minor illnesses should not prevent immunization.
got any other vaccines in the past month. Some can interfere with how well the
MMR vaccine will work.
has ever had a low platelet count
Your doctor may decide that the benefits of vaccinating your child outweigh the
Pregnant women should not get the MMR vaccine until after childbirth.
Caring for Your Child After MMR Immunization
If your child develops a rash without other symptoms, no treatment is needed. The
rash should go away in several days. Check with your doctor to see if you can give
either acetaminophen or ibuprofen
for pain or fever and to find out the appropriate dose.
When Should I Call the Doctor?
Call your doctor if:
You aren't sure if the vaccine should be postponed or avoided.