Measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine

3. Some people should not get MMR vaccine or should wait

  • People should not get MMR vaccine who have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to gelatin, the antibiotic neomycin, or a previous dose of MMR vaccine.
  • People who are moderately or severely ill at the time the shot is scheduled should usually wait until they recover before getting MMR vaccine.
  • Pregnant women should wait to get MMR vaccine until after they have given birth. Women should not get pregnant for 3 months after getting MMR vaccine.
  • Some people should check with their doctor about whether they should get MMR vaccine, including anyone who:
    • Has HIV/AIDS, or another disease that affects the immune system
    • Is being treated with drugs that affect the immune system, such as steroids, for 2 weeks or longer.
    • Has any kind of cancer
    • Is taking cancer treatment with x-rays or drugs
    • Has ever had a low platelet count (a blood disorder)
  • People who recently had a transfusion or were given other blood products should ask their doctor when they may get MMR vaccine

Ask your doctor or nurse for more information.

4. What are the risks from MMR vaccine?

A vaccine, like any medicine, is capable of causing serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. The risk of MMR vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small.

Getting MMR vaccine is much safer than getting any of these three diseases.

Most people who get MMR vaccine do not have any problems with it.

Mild Problems

  • Fever (up to 1 person out of 6)
  • Mild rash (about 1 person out of 20)
  • Swelling of glands in the cheeks or neck (rare)

If these problems occur, it is usually within 7-12 days after the shot. They occur less often after the second dose.

Moderate Problems

  • Seizure (jerking or staring) caused by fever (about 1 out of 3,000 doses)
  • Temporary pain and stiffness in the joints, mostly in teenage or adult women (up to 1 out of 4)
  • Temporary low platelet count, which can cause a bleeding disorder (about 1 out of 30,000 doses)

Severe Problems (Very Rare)

  • Serious allergic reaction (less than 1 out of a million doses)
  • Several other severe problems have been known to occur after a child gets MMR vaccine. But this happens so rarely, experts cannot be sure whether they are caused by the vaccine or not. These include:
    • Deafness
    • Long-term seizures, coma, or lowered consciousness
    • Permanent brain damage
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