The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps, and rubella (German measles). MMR Immunization Schedule Children get the MMR vaccine by injection in 2 doses: at age 12–15 months at age 4–6 years Children traveling outside the United States can get the vaccine as early as 6 months of age. They still should get the routine doses at 12–15 months and 4–6 years of age. If they're staying in an area where disease risk is high, they should get the first dose at 12 months and the second at least 4 weeks later. Older children also can get the vaccine if they didn't get it when they were younger. Sometimes doctors give MMR in combination with the chickenpox vaccine in a vaccine called MMRV. The U.S. has had recent outbreaks of mumps and measles. An outbreak is when a disease happens in greater numbers than expected in a particular area. During an outbreak, doctors may recommend a third vaccine dose for some people. If you have questions about vaccinating your family during an outbreak, call your doctor or your state or local health department. Why Is MMR Recommended? Measles, mumps, and rubella are infections that can lead to serious illness. More than 95% of children who get the MMR vaccine will be protected from the three diseases throughout their lives. Possible Risks of the MMR Vaccine Serious problems such as allergic reactions are rare. Mild to moderate side effects can happen, such as rash, fever, swollen cheeks, febrile seizures, and mild joint pain. When to Delay or Avoid MMR Immunization The MMR vaccine is not recommended if your child: had a serious allergic reaction to an earlier dose of MMR vaccine, or components of the vaccine, which include gelatin and the antibiotic neomycin has a disorder that affects the immune system (such as cancer) is taking steroids or other medicine that weakens the immune system is undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy Talk to your doctor about whether the vaccine is a good idea if your child: is currently sick. But simple colds or other minor illnesses should not prevent immunization. got any other vaccines in the past month. Some can interfere with how well the MMR vaccine will work. has ever had a low platelet count Your doctor may decide that the benefits of vaccinating your child outweigh the possible risks. Pregnant women should not get the MMR vaccine until after childbirth. Caring for Your Child After MMR Immunization If your child develops a rash without other symptoms, no treatment is needed. The rash should go away in several days. Check with your doctor to see if you can give either acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain or fever and to find out the appropriate dose. When Should I Call the Doctor? Call your doctor if: You aren't sure if the vaccine should be postponed or avoided. There are problems after the immunization. Back to Articles Related Articles Encephalitis Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain. Although encephalitis sounds scary, understanding its causes, symptoms, and treatment can help you feel prepared to deal with it if you ever need to. Read More Encephalitis Encephalitis is a rare brain inflammation caused by a virus. The best way to avoid encephalitis is to prevent the illnesses that may lead to it. Read More A Kid's Guide to Shots If you're old enough to read this, you've probably had most of your shots. But even bigger kids may need a shot once in a while. Find out more about them in this article for kids. Read More Rubella (German Measles) Rubella infection, or German measles, usually is a mild disease in kids that can be prevented with vaccination. Its primary medical danger is to pregnant women because it can affect developing babies. Read More Is There a Connection Between Vaccines and Autism? Find out what the experts have to say. Read More Measles Measles is best known for the skin rash it causes. Although rare, outbreaks can happen. Getting your kids fully vaccinated is the best way to protect them from this disease. Read More Immunizations Missing out on shots puts you at more serious risk than you might think. That one little "ouch" moment protects you from some major health problems. Read More 5 Tips for Surviving Shots If you're afraid of shots, you're not alone. Next time your doc asks you to roll up your sleeve, try these tips. Read More Immunization Schedule Which vaccines does your child need and when? Use this immunization schedule as a handy reference. Read More Common Questions About Immunizations Immunizations have protected millions of children from potentially deadly diseases. Learn about immunizations and find out exactly what they do - and what they don't. Read More Your Child's Immunizations Immunizations protect kids from many dangerous diseases. Find out what vaccines your child needs to grow up healthy. Read More How Vaccines Help (Video) Vaccines help keep kids healthy, but many parents still have questions about them. Get answers here. Read More Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2021 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.