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Home > > Health & WellnessMeasles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) Immunizations

Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) Immunizations

Measles, mumps and rubella are serious diseases. Measles causes rash, cough, runny nose, eye irritation, and fever. It can lead to ear infection, pneumonia, seizures, brain damage and death.

Mumps cause fever, headache and swollen glands. It can lead to deafness, meningitis and painful swelling of the testicles or ovaries. Rarely, death is associated with Mumps.

Rubella (german measles) is a virus that causes rash, mild fever, and arthritis (mostly in women).

Who Should Get the MMR Vaccine and When?

Children should get two doses of the MMR vaccine:

  • The first at 12-15 months of age
  • The second at four to six years of age

These are the recommended ages; children can receive the second dose at any age, as long as it's 28 days after the first dose.

Who Should Not Get the MMR Vaccine?

People who have had a life-threatening reaction to gelatin, the antibiotic neomycin or a previous dose of the MMR vaccine should should not get the vaccine.

People who are moderately or severely ill should wait until they are well before getting the vaccine.

Check with your doctor before getting the vaccine if you:

  • Have HIV/AIDS, or another disease that affects the immune system
  • Are being treated with drugs that affect the immune system, such as steroids
  • Have any kind of cancer
  • Have ever had a low platelet count
  • Recently received a transfusion

What are the Risks from the MMR Vaccine?

Like any medicine, a vaccine is capable of causing serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. The risk of the MMR vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small. Most people who get the vaccine have no problems with it.

Mild Problems:

  • Fever
  • Mild rash
  • Swelling of glands in the cheeks or neck (rare)

Moderate Problems:

  • Seizure
  • Temporary pain and stiffness in the joints
  • Temporary low platelet count (rare)

Severe Problems (Very Rare):

  • Serious allergic reaction
  • Deafness
  • Long-term seizures, coma
  • Permanent brain damage

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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