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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
What is the MMR vaccine?
The MMR vaccine is an injection given to help prevent measles, mumps, and rubella. Measles causes a skin rash to appear on the head and upper neck. The rash slowly spreads to the hands and feet. Mumps infects many parts of the body and usually causes inflammation of the parotid glands. These glands make saliva and are found in the cheeks. Rubella causes a skin rash that usually starts on the face. The rash spreads to the chest, abdomen, back, arms, and legs.
Who should get the MMR vaccine?
- Infants 6 to 11 months traveling internationally may need 1 MMR shot. They should then follow the same schedule as children 12 months to 6 years.
- Children 12 months to 6 years usually receive 2 MMR shots. 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 dose.
- Children 7 to 18 years who have not had the vaccine should receive 2 doses. Those who have had only 1 dose should receive a second dose at least 4 weeks after the first dose.
- Adults born before 1957 are considered immune and do not need the MMR vaccine unless they work in healthcare.
- Adults born during or after 1957 may need 1 or more doses. Adults born during or after 1957 who are at high risk may need a second dose. This dose is usually given 4 weeks after the first dose. The following adults may have a higher risk for infection:
- College students
- Healthcare workers
- Anyone who has recently been near someone with measles, mumps, or rubella
- Anyone who plans to travel to a different country
- Anyone who lives in an area where measles, mumps, or rubella is common or there is an outbreak
- Anyone who has been vaccinated with nonliving measles vaccine or an unknown type of measles vaccine between 1963 and 1967
- Anyone who has been vaccinated with nonliving mumps vaccine or an unknown type of mumps vaccine before 1979 and who is a healthcare worker
- Anyone who has not already had the MMR vaccine and who lives with a person who has a weak immune system
Who should not get the MMR vaccine?
- Anyone who has had 2 doses of the MMR vaccine or who is immune to MMR
- Anyone who has had an allergic reaction to gelatin, antibiotic medicine, or a previous MMR vaccine
Who should wait to get the MMR vaccine?
- Anyone who is sick or has a fever should wait until they feel better to get the vaccine.
- A pregnant woman should wait to get the vaccine until after she gives birth. A woman should not get pregnant for 1 month after she gets the vaccine. A woman who is trying to get pregnant should wait until her healthcare provider says it is okay to get the vaccine.
- Ask whether you should get the MMR vaccine if you:
- Are being treated with medicine that affects the immune system, such as steroids
- Have a disease that weakens the immune system, such as cancer, HIV, or AIDS
- Have untreated, active tuberculosis (TB) or a history of blood problems, such as thrombocytopenia
- Have received a blood transfusion in the past 3 to 11 months
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 911 for any of the following:
- Your mouth and throat are swollen.
- You are wheezing or have trouble breathing.
- You have chest pain or your heart is beating faster than normal for you.
- 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 contact my healthcare provider?
- You have a fever or chills.
- You have swollen lymph glands in your cheeks or neck.
- Your joints are painful and inflamed.
- 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 AgreementYou have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers 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.
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