1. Why get vaccinated?

Measles, mumps, and rubella are serious diseases.


• Measles virus causes rash, cough, runny nose, eye irritation, and fever.
• It can lead to ear infection, pneumonia, seizures (jerking and staring), brain damage, and death.


• Mumps virus causes fever, headache, and swollen glands.
• It can lead to deafness, meningitis (infection of the brain and spinal cord covering), painful swelling of the testicles or ovaries, and, rarely, death.

Rubella (German Measles)

• Rubella virus causes rash, mild fever, and arthritis (mostly in women).
• If a woman gets rubella while she is pregnant, she could have a miscarriage or her baby could be born with serious birth defects.

You or your child could catch these diseases by being around someone who has them. They spread from person to person through the air.

Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine can prevent these diseases.

Most children who get their MMR shots will not get these diseases. Many more children would get them if we stopped vaccinating.

2. Who should get MMR vaccine and when?

Children should get 2 doses of MMR vaccine:

These are the recommended ages. But children can get the second dose at any age, as long as it is at least 28 days after the first dose.

Some adults should also get MMR vaccine:

Generally, anyone 18 years of age or older who was born after 1956 should get at least one dose of MMR vaccine, unless they can show that they have had either the vaccines or the diseases.

Ask your provider for more information.

MMR vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines.

Note: A “combination” vaccine called MMRV, which contains both MMR and varicella (chickenpox) vaccines, may be given instead of the two individual vaccines to people 12 years of age and younger.

3. Some people should not get MMR vaccine or should wait.

Ask your provider for more information.

4. What are the risks from MMR vaccine?

A vaccine, like any medicine, is capable of causing serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. The risk of MMR vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small.

Getting MMR vaccine is much safer than getting any of these three diseases.

Most people who get MMR vaccine do not have any problems with it.

Mild Problems

If these problems occur, it is usually within 7-12 days after the shot. They occur less often after the second dose.

Moderate Problems

Severe Problems (Very Rare)

Note: The first dose of MMRV vaccine has been associated with rash and higher rates of fever than MMR and varicella vaccines given separately. Rash has been reported in about 1 person in 20 and fever in about 1 person in 5.
Seizures caused by a fever are also reportedmore often after MMRV. These usually occur 5-12 days after the first dose.

5. What if there is a moderate or severe reaction?

What should I look for?

What should I do?

VAERS does not provide medical advice.

6. The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

A federal program exists to help pay for the care of anyone who has a serious reaction to a vaccine.

For more information about the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, call 1-800-338-2382, or visit their website at

7. How can I learn more?