Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR) Vaccine

Measles is prevented through vaccination.  Before there was a vaccine, it is estimated that there were over 3 million measles cases every year in the US, and 500 deaths due to measles.  The vaccine that we use today, called MMR, for measles, mumps and rubella, is highly effective.  Measles vaccination protects not just the person being vaccinated, but the community around them, including babies less than 12 months old who are too young to be vaccinated.

What is the vaccine schedule?

The US recommends 2 doses of MMR vaccine, separated by at least 28 days.

  • Two doses of MMR vaccine are more than 97% effective at preventing measles.

Who should get vaccinated?

Everyone should be protected from measles.

  • Children; first dose is typically given at 12—15 months old, with the second dose at 4 years old.
  • Additional dose for infants 6-12 months prior to international travel
The current general MMR vaccine recommendation schedule of one dose at 12-15 months and one dose at 4-6 years has not changed due to the current measles outbreak in Alameda County.  Your doctor has the option to give the second dose of the vaccine earlier than age 4 years, based on their own medical judgment as long as at least 28 days have passed since the first dose.  Still, this is not the general policy at this time.

It is a policy that children between the ages of 6-12 months who are traveling internationally should be vaccinated with one dose of MMR.  This dose will not count toward child care or school admission – two doses will be necessary later to comply with the general recommended schedule.

How safe is the measles vaccine?

The measles vaccine is very safe. The most common side effects are soreness where the shot was given and fever. Sometimes there is a mild rash or swollen glands in the cheeks or neck.

Where do I go to receive a vaccine?

The best place to receive an MMR vaccine is at your doctor’s office, but there are also other options such as local clinics, pharmacies, or sites found on this vaccine locator website.

Any time you receive a vaccine, be sure to keep your record.  If you are unsure of your vaccine history, here are some tips.

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