The measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine is a safe and effective way to protect you and your family from measles.

What is Measles?
Measles is a highly infectious respiratory disease that can result in severe, sometimes permanent, complications including pneumonia, seizures (jerking and staring), brain damage, and death. It is highly contagious and spreads easily by contact with an infected person through coughing and sneezing. In fact, if a person has measles, 9 out of 10 of his close contacts will get it too, unless they are protected. Symptoms include rash, cough, runny nose, eye irritation, and fever.

Why should I get vaccinated?

Measles cases in the US are at a 15-year high, due largely to international travel. According to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2014, there were 23 outbreaks and 644 cases of measles in the United States, the highest number for one year since the disease was eliminated from the country in 2000. More alarmingly, from January 1 to September 18, 2015, 189 people from 24 states and Washington, DC, were reported to have measles. 

Infant & Childhood Immunization Recommendations
In the US, two doses of the MMR vaccine is recommended for children. Infants normally get their first measles vaccine between 12 and 15 months followed by another shot between 4 and 6 years. However, the CDC recommends that any baby as young as 6 months old that will be travelling internationally should get a vaccine before leaving followed by two more vaccines later.

  • Infants should receive their first dose at 12-15 months of age
  • the second dose should be provided before entering school, at 4-6 years of age

Adolescent & Adult Immunizations Recommendations

Adolescents who were not previously vaccinated should get two doses (with at least 28 days between doses); those who only received one dose previously should get the second dose. Complications from measles are more common among adults. All adults born in 1957 or later who have not been vaccinated or have not had measles should be vaccinated. The CDC states that if you are not sure about your vaccination status, it is safe to get another measles vaccine. The only people who should not get vaccinated are those who are immune-compromised. Talk to your healthcare professional to find out if you should receive a vaccination.

  • Anyone born during or after 1957 who has not had measles should receive at least one dose of MMR vaccine
  • Two doses of MMR vaccine are recommended for adults at higher risk, including;
    • College students, trade school students, or other students beyond high school
    • Those who work in a healthcare setting
    • International travelers or those who are passengers on a cruise ship
    • Women of childbearing age

Learn more about measles and the vaccines to prevent it in adolescents at and adults at


A Look at Each Vaccine: MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) Vaccine

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP): Learn about measles, how the MMR vaccine is made, side effects, and who should get vaccinated

Adolescent Vaccination Recommendation: MMR

AAP Urges Parents to Vaccinate Children to Protect Against Measles (1/23/15)

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP): Press Release

Frequently Asked Questions about Measles in the US

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP): Patient handout

Measles and Prevention through Vaccination

Immunization Action Coalition (IAC): Immunization materials for patients and healthcare professionals on measles

Measles Information for Healthcare Professionals

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Measles: Questions and Answers

Immunize Action Coalition (IAC): Information about the causes, signs, symptoms, and complications of measles and information about the MMR vaccine

Measles Vaccination: Who Needs It?

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Measles Vaccines Questions & Answers

Immunization Action Coalition (IAC)

Understanding MMR Vaccine Safety

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Frequently asked questions