The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps, and rubella (German measles).
MMR vaccinations are given by injection in two doses:
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.
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.
The vaccine is not recommended if:
Talk to your doctor about whether it's a good idea for your child to be vaccinated if he or she:
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.
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.
Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: February 2014
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