Vaccine (Shot) for Rubella


Pronounced (rue-BELL-a)

Two doses of the MMR shot (measles, mumps, and rubella) are recommended for children by doctors as the best way to protect against rubella.

When should my child get the MMR shot?

One dose at each of the following ages:

Before traveling to another country, infants 6 to 11 months should get 1 dose of the MMR shot.

Why should my child get the rubella shot?

  • Protects your child from rubella, a potentially serious disease, as well as measles and mumps.
  • Prevents your child from spreading rubella to a pregnant woman whose unborn baby could develop serious birth defects or die if the mother gets rubella.
  • Prevents your child from getting a rash and fever from rubella.
  • Keeps your child from missing school or childcare and you from missing work to care for your sick child.

The MMR shot is safe.

The MMR shot is very safe, and is effective at preventing rubella. Vaccines like a medicine, can have side effects. These are usually mild and go away on their own.

There is no link between the MMR shot and autism.
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.

What are the side effects of the shot?

Most children don’t have any side effects from the shot. The side effects that do occur are usually very mild, and may include:

  • Fever
  • Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
  • Temporary pain and stiffness in the joints (mostly in teens and adults)
  • Mild rash

More serious side effects are rare. These may include high fever that could cause a seizure.

Prepare for your child's vaccine visit and learn about how you can:

  • Research vaccines and ready your child before the visit
  • Comfort your child during the appointment
  • Care for your child after the shot
Before, During, and After Shots

What is rubella?

Rubella, sometimes called “German measles,” is a disease caused by a virus. The infection is usually mild with fever and a rash.

Are you planning a pregnancy?

Pregnant woman touching belly.

Even before becoming pregnant, make sure you are up to date on all your vaccines. If you aren’t up to date, you’ll need the MMR vaccine before you get pregnant.

Infection during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, or birth defects like deafness, blindness, intellectual disability, heart defects, and liver or spleen damage.

If you are not up to date on MMR vaccine, but you are already pregnant, consult your healthcare provider about ways to reduce your risk of exposure to rubella.

What are the symptoms of rubella?

In children, rubella usually causes the following symptoms that last 2 or 3 days:

  • Rash that starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body
  • Low fever (less than 101 degrees)

Before the rash appears, older children and adults may also have:

  • Swollen glands
  • Cough, runny nose, and redness or swelling of the white of the eye
  • Aching joints (especially in young women)

About half of the people who get rubella do not have symptoms.

Is rubella serious?

Rubella is usually mild in children. Complications are not common, but they occur more often in adults. In rare cases, rubella can cause serious problems, including brain infections and bleeding problems.

How does rubella spread?

Rubella spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes and touches objects or surfaces with unwashed hands.

The disease is most contagious when the infected person has a rash. But it can spread up to 7 days before the rash appears and up to 7 days after. People without symptoms can still spread rubella.

Rubella is rare in the United States but can be brought to the U.S. by travelers.

Follow the vaccine schedule

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Family Physicians, and American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommend children receive all vaccines according to the recommended vaccine schedule.

Page last reviewed: December 31, 2020