Skip to main content

MMR Vaccine for Adults

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Oct 3, 2022.

What is the MMR vaccine?

The MMR vaccine is an injection given to help prevent measles, mumps, and rubella.

Why may I need the MMR vaccine?

You may need 1 dose of the MMR vaccine if you do not have evidence of immunity to measles, mumps, or rubella. Anyone born before 1957 is generally considered immune. You may need 1 or 2 doses at least 4 weeks apart if:

  • You were born before 1957, but you work in healthcare or a lab test shows you are not immune.
  • You were born during or after 1957 and:
    • You are a college student.
    • You work in healthcare.
    • You plan to travel internationally.
    • You have recently been near someone who has measles, mumps, or rubella.
    • You live in an area where measles, mumps, or rubella is common or there is an outbreak.
    • You have been vaccinated with nonliving measles vaccine or an unknown type of measles vaccine between 1963 and 1967.
    • You have been vaccinated with nonliving mumps vaccine or an unknown type of mumps vaccine before 1979 and are at high risk.
    • You have not had the MMR vaccine and you live with a person who has a weak immune system or is pregnant.
  • You may need 3 doses if you are in a mumps outbreak area. Your healthcare provider will tell you if you need a third dose, and when to get it.

What are reasons I should not get the MMR vaccine?

  • A lab test shows you are immune to measles, mumps, and rubella.
  • You had an allergic reaction to gelatin or an antibiotic medicine. Tell your healthcare provider about any life-threatening allergies you have. He or she can tell you if the MMR vaccine is safe for you. Tell the provider if you had an allergic reaction to a dose of the MMR vaccine. He or she will tell you if it is okay to get another dose.
  • You are a woman and know or think you are pregnant.
  • You have a weakened immune system.

What are reasons I should wait to get the MMR vaccine?

  • You are sick or have a fever.
  • You have received other vaccines within the past 4 weeks.
  • You are taking medicine that affects the immune system, such as steroids.
  • You have a condition that causes you to bleed or bruise easily, such as thrombocytopenia.
  • You received a blood transfusion in the past 3 to 11 months.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

What do I need to know about the MMR vaccine and pregnancy?

Do not get the vaccine while you are pregnant. If you are planning pregnancy, wait until a lab test confirms immunity before you become pregnant. This may be up to 3 months after you receive the vaccine.

What are the risks of the MMR vaccine?

The area where the vaccine was given may be red, tender, or swollen. You may get a fever, mild rash, or swollen glands in your cheeks or neck. Your joints may be painful and inflamed. You may have an allergic reaction to the vaccine. The MMR vaccine may cause a low platelet count, which may lead to internal bleeding. This can be life-threatening.

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • Your mouth and throat are swollen.
  • You are wheezing or have trouble breathing.
  • You have chest pain or your heart is beating faster than usual.
  • You feel like you are going to faint.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • Your face is red or swollen.
  • You have hives that spread over your body.
  • You feel weak or dizzy.

When should I call my doctor?

  • You have a fever or chills.
  • You have swollen lymph glands in your cheeks or neck.
  • Your joints are painful and swollen.
  • You have increased pain, redness, or swelling around the area where the shot was given.
  • You have questions or concerns about the MMR vaccine.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Ā© Copyright IBM Corporation 2022 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotesĀ® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

Learn more about MMR Vaccine for Adults

Treatment options

Care guides guides (external)

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.