What is an MMR Vaccine?
An MMR vaccine is a safe and effective vaccine that gives protection (immunity) against three contagious viral infections—Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (also known as German Measles). These infections spread easily when a person infected with measles sneezes, coughs, or talks and the infected droplets spread in the air which the other people inhale.
The MMR vaccine is a two-part vaccination meaning you need to take two doses of the vaccine to get complete protection against MMR infections. When you are vaccinated for MMR or if you’ve had these infections, then your immune system makes antibodies that fight the viruses that cause them.
All children need to take this vaccination before joining the school. These diseases can be fatal, especially to small children.
Explore This Article:
|1||What is Measles?|
|2||What is Mumps?|
|3||What is Rubella?|
|4||Who Should Get an MMR Vaccine?|
|5||Who Should Not Get an MMR Vaccine?|
|6||How Should I Prepare for an MMR Vaccine?|
|7||How Is an MMR Vaccine Given?|
|8||Are There Any Risks in Taking an MMR Vaccine?|
What is Measles?
Measles (Rubeola) is a highly infectious viral disease that spreads through coughing and sneezing. If you are not vaccinated against measles and have come in contact with someone who has measles, then there is a high chance that you will also get infected. There is no cure or treatment for measles.
Symptoms of measles develop about 1 to 2 weeks after catching the infection:
- High fever
- Rash all over the body
- Dry cough
- Red, watery, itchy eyes
- A runny nose
- Sore throat
- Sensitivity to light
- Tiny white spots inside the mouth
Complications that occur after getting measles include:
- Brain infection (encephalitis) and brain damage
- Ear infections
- Lung infection (pneumonia)
What is Mumps?
Mumps is a viral disease that spreads through coughing and sneezing of an infected person. It also spreads when a healthy person comes in close contact with a person who has mumps.
Symptoms of mumps develop about 2 to 3 weeks after catching the infection:
- Muscle aches
- Swollen salivary glands
- Loss of appetite
- Swelling of the testicles or ovaries
Complications that occur after getting mumps include:
- Brain infection (encephalitis)
- Painful swelling of the testicles or ovaries
- Swelling of the brain and/or spinal cord covering (meningitis)
- Temporary hearing loss
- Death (very rare)
What is Rubella?
Rubella is a viral disease that spreads in a similar manner as mumps and measles. Generally, it is a mild condition that improves in 7 to 10 days without any treatment. However, if a pregnant woman develops rubella during the first three months of her pregnancy, her baby could be born with birth defects or she could have a miscarriage.
Symptoms of rubella develop about 2 to 3 weeks after catching the infection:
- Sore throat
- Rash around the ears and neck
- Red, watery, itchy eyes
- Aching joints
Complications that occur after getting rubella include:
- Baby being born with eye problems (cataracts)
- Heart problems
- Swelling of the brain (encephalitis)
Who Should Get an MMR Vaccine?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends:
- Infants aged 6–11 months should get the first dose of MMR vaccine before traveling internationally or if they are living in an area that’s experiencing an outbreak.
- Children should get two additional doses. First at age 12–15 months and second at least 28 days after the first dose or when they are between 4 and 6 years.
- Adults born after 1956 should get at least one dose of the MMR vaccine, especially before their international travel. If they’ve had all three diseases (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) earlier or have had been vaccinated for MMR, then they don’t need to take the vaccine shot again. It is assumed that people born before 1957 have had measles, therefore they have lifelong immunity.
In case you are not sure whether you have been vaccinated for MMR earlier or if you have immunity against the disease, your doctor may recommend an MMR Test (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) to check your immunity. Depending on the results, your doctor will help you decide what your next steps should be.
Who Should Not Get an MMR Vaccine?
There are only a few exceptions as to who should not get the MMR vaccine. These are:
- Pregnant women
- Infants younger than 6 months
- People who are allergic to the vaccine
- People who’ve recently had a blood transfusion
- People who have weak immune systems (such as those who have AIDS or cancer)
- People who’ve had a condition that makes them bleed or bruise easily
- People who have tuberculosis
- People who have received any other vaccines in the past four weeks.
- People who have a brother, sister, or parent with a history of immune system problems
How Should I Prepare for an MMR Vaccine?
There is no special preparation or fasting required for the MMR vaccine. Just bring your LabFinder Order and Insurance Card to your appointment.
How Is an MMR Vaccine Given?
A healthcare professional or doctor will give the MMR vaccine as a single injection into the muscle of your upper arm or thigh. You will experience a sting when the needle is inserted and taken out. You may experience some swelling and redness on the skin where the injection is given, but it should disappear soon.
Are There Any Risks in Taking an MMR Vaccine?
No. There is rarely any risk involved while taking the MMR vaccine. It is a highly effective and safe vaccine.
The MMR vaccine, just like any other medicine, can have the following side effects but these are safer than getting measles, mumps, or rubella:
- Mild rash
- Sore arm from the shot (injection/vaccine area)
- Swelling in the cheeks or neck
- Temporary stiffness and pain in the joints (mostly in adult women or teenagers)
- Serious allergic reaction to MMR vaccine (extremely rare)