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MMR Vaccine for Children


The MMR vaccine

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

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

  • Your child's mouth and throat are swollen.
  • Your child is wheezing or has trouble breathing.
  • Your child has chest pain or his or her heart is beating faster than usual.
  • Your child feels like he or she is going to faint.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your child's face is red or swollen.
  • Your child has hives that spread over his or her body.
  • Your child feels weak or dizzy.

Call your child's doctor if:

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

When your child should get the MMR vaccine:

The vaccine is usually given in 2 doses, but 3 doses are sometimes given. Your child's healthcare provider will tell you if your child needs a third dose, and when to get it.

  • Children 12 months to 6 years usually receive 2 doses. The first dose should be given at 12 to 15 months. The second dose is usually given at 4 to 6 years. The second dose may be given before age 4 if it has been at least 4 weeks since the first.
  • Infants 6 to 11 months who will be traveling internationally may need 1 dose. They should then receive 2 more doses. The second dose should be given at 12 to 15 months. The third dose should be given at least 4 weeks later.
  • Children 12 months or older who will be traveling internationally may need 2 doses. The second dose should be given at least 4 weeks after the first.
  • Children 7 to 18 years who have not had the vaccine should receive 2 doses. The second dose should be given at least 4 weeks after the first.

Do not have your child get the MMR vaccine if:

  • He or she had an allergic reaction to gelatin or an antibiotic medicine. Tell your child's healthcare provider about any life-threatening allergies your child has. He or she can tell you if the vaccine is safe for your child. Tell the provider if your child had an allergic reaction to a dose of the MMR vaccine. He or she will tell you if it is okay for your child to get another dose.
  • He or she has a weakened immune system or HIV with a CD4 cell count less than 200.
  • She knows or thinks she is pregnant.

Your child's healthcare provider may tell you to wait if:

  • Your child is sick or has a fever.
  • Your child received other vaccines within the past 4 weeks.
  • Your child is taking a medicine that weakens the immune system, such as steroids.
  • Your child has a condition that causes him or her to bleed easily, such as thrombocytopenia.
  • Your child received a blood transfusion in the past 3 to 11 months.

Risks of the MMR vaccine:

The area where the vaccine was given may be red, tender, or swollen. Your child may get a fever, mild rash, or swollen glands in his or her cheeks or neck. Your child's joints may be painful and swollen. Your child 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.

Apply a warm compress

to your child's injection area as directed to decrease pain and swelling.

Follow up with your child's doctor as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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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.

Learn more about MMR Vaccine for Children (Ambulatory Care)

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Further information

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