|Generic Name||Brand Name|
|measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine||M-M-R II, Priorix|
|measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (mmrv) vaccine||Priorix-Tetra|
The vaccine helps your body make chemicals called antibodies to fight off the viruses. The vaccine is given as a shot (injection).
There is a measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (MMRV, or Priorix-Tetra) shot that also protects against chickenpox (varicella). Talk to your child's doctor about the pros and cons of the MMRV shot. It can be given to children age 12 and younger.
Two doses are given to provide lifelong protection. The first shot is given at 12 months of age, and the second is usually given at around 18 months of age or later but before the child enters school.
Sometimes MMR shots are given before a child is 1 year of age, such as during a measles outbreak or if the child is travelling to an area where measles is common. In these cases, the child will receive two doses of the MMR vaccine after the child's first birthday.2
You can keep track of when your child received vaccines using the National Childhood Immunization Record (What is a PDF document?), the Alberta childhood immunization record (What is a PDF document?), or the British Columbia Childhood Immunization Record (What is a PDF document?).
Adults born before 1970 generally are considered immune to measles and mumps. Adults born after 1970 who did not have measles or the vaccine should get one dose. If these adults born after 1970 do not have immunity and are likely to be in contact with measles, they should get two doses:2
One dose given at 12 or 15 months of age is about 85% to 95% effective. After the second dose is given, nearly 100% of children are protected for life.
Mild reactions that may occur one to two weeks after getting the vaccine include:
Even though serious allergic reactions are rare with this vaccine, call your doctor or local health unit right away if you or your child has trouble breathing, a high fever, or anything unusual after having the shot.
A child who has had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose should not get another dose of the vaccine. Tell your doctor or nurse if your child has had a severe reaction to any vaccine or has severe allergies.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
People with a mild illness, such as a cold, can get the vaccine. But if they are more ill, they should wait until they are better. If women get an MMR or MMRV vaccine, they should wait 4 weeks until getting pregnant.
Talk with your doctor before getting the vaccine if you:3
In the past, children with allergies to eggs were thought to be at high risk for serious reactions to the MMR vaccine because it is made with chick embryo cells. But recent studies have shown that the risk of allergic reaction from the MMR vaccine is extremely low for these people, and vaccination is recommended.
- National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) (2010). Statement on measles-mumps-rubella-varicella vaccine. Canada Communicable Disease Report, 36(ACS-9): 1–22. Also available online: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/publicat/ccdr-rmtc/10vol36/acs-9/index-eng.php.
- National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) (2006). Measles vaccine. In Canadian Immunization Guide, 7th ed., pp. 228–236. Ottawa: Public Health Agency of Canada. Also available online: http://publications.gc.ca.
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2003). Measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines: What you need to know. Vaccine Information Statement. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Immunization Program. Available online: http://www.cdc.gov/nip/publications/VIS/vis-mmr.pdf.
Last Revised: May 8, 2013
Author: Healthwise Staff
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