Vaccine for Measles
Prevent measles and talk to your doctor about the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, especially especially if planning to travel.
Prevent measles with MMR vaccine
Measles can be prevented with MMR vaccine. The vaccine protects against three diseases: measles, mumps, and rubella. MMR vaccine is given later than some other childhood vaccines because antibodies transferred from the mother to the baby can provide some protection from disease and make the MMR vaccine less effective until about 1 year of age.
Schedule for MMR vaccine if you’re not traveling
|First Dose||Second Dose|
|Children*||Age 12-15 months||Age 4-6 years|
|Teenagers and adults with no evidence of immunity**||As soon as possible||N/A|
* CDC recommends this schedule for children 12 months and older. Infants younger than 12 months old and children traveling outside the U.S. should follow another schedule.
** Acceptable evidence of immunity against measles includes at least one of the following: written documentation of adequate vaccination, laboratory evidence of immunity, laboratory confirmation of measles, or birth in the United States before 1957.
If you have children, see if they’re due for MMR vaccine:
- Check your child’s vaccination record,
- Contact their healthcare provider, or
- Visit the immunization scheduler for newborn to 6-year-old children
Related page: Vaccine for Measles – A Parent’s Resource
MMR vaccine is safe
MMR vaccine is very safe and effective. Two doses of MMR vaccine are about 97% effective at preventing measles; one dose is about 93% effective.
Is there a link between the MMR shot and autism?
No. Scientists in the United States and other countries have carefully studied the MMR shot. None has found a link between autism and the MMR shot. Learn more
Measles can also be prevented with MMRV vaccine
Children may also get MMRV vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (chickenpox). This vaccine is only licensed for use in children who are 12 months through 12 years of age.
Paying for the measles vaccine
Most health insurance plans cover the cost of vaccines. But you may want to check with your health insurance provider before going to the doctor.
Related page: How to Pay for Vaccines
If you have a child and don’t have insurance or if your insurance does not cover vaccines for your child, the Vaccines for Children Program (VFC) may be able to help. This program helps families of eligible children who might not otherwise have access to vaccines. To find out if your child is eligible, visit the VFC website or ask your child’s doctor. You can also contact your state VFC coordinator.
Measles is a serious disease that can lead to complications and death
Measles is a very contagious disease caused by a virus. It spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. In fact, the measles virus can stay in the air for up to 2 hours after an infected person was there. So you can get infected by simply being in a room where an infected person once was. It is so contagious that if one person has it, up to 90% of the people around him or her will also become infected if they are not protected.
Measles starts with fever. Soon after, it causes a cough, runny nose, and red eyes. Then a rash of tiny, red spots breaks out. It starts at the head and spreads to the rest of the body.
Before the measles vaccination program started in 1963:
- an estimated 3 to 4 million people got measles each year in the United States;
- of these, approximately 500,000 cases were reported each year to CDC;
- of these, 400 to 500 died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and 1,000 developed encephalitis (brain swelling) from measles.
Since then, widespread use of measles vaccine has led to a greater than 99% reduction in measles cases compared with the pre-vaccine era.
Related page: Complications for Measles