Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) viruses are highly infectious and transmitted through airborne droplets spread from the respiratory tract of an infectious person. Inhalation of droplets from an infected person, caused by sneezing, coughing or spitting will cause the spread of infection.
The virus is found worldwide and outbreaks of measles continue to be a global problem.
Vaccine containing measles, mumps, and rubella viruses that have been weakened. When a person is given the vaccine, the immune system will make antibodies against the measles, mumps, and rubella viruses. The antibodies help protect against infections caused by these viruses.
The vaccine should be given to protect everyone who is unvaccinated from 12 months of age onward. Couples planning a pregnancy should check if they have received the vaccination previously. People can check their antibody levels if uncertain.
A full course of MMR vaccination requires 2 doses.
- If you or your child are allergic to any of the components of this vaccine (including neomycin or any of the other ingredients)
- If you or your child are pregnant
- If you or your child have any illness with fever higher than 38.5°C vaccination should be postponed until recovery (low-grade fever itself is not a reason to delay vaccination )
- If you or your child have active untreated tuberculosis
- If you or your child have any condition that affects or lowers the immune system –
- If you or your child are receiving treatment or taking medicines that may weaken the immune system – discuss with the nurse or doctor.
MMR should not be given in pregnancy. Women of child-bearing age should take the necessary precautions to avoid pregnancy for 1 month after receiving MMR vaccination. Tell your nurse or doctor if you are breast feeding so they can advise you of the benefits and risks of vaccination depending upon the country of destination.
Mumps measles and rubella disease can have serious, potentially fatal complications including meningitis, encephalitis (swelling of the brain) and deafness. Complications of disease can seriously affect pregnant women and their unborn babies and also increase the chances of miscarriage.
After MMR vaccination the majority of people experience no problems. Side effects of vaccination however can include minor local reactions at the injection site such as tenderness, redness and swelling or even a faint rash as it may mildly mimic the illness. Other reactions may include more unlikely side effects such as aching joints, fever, headache or tiredness, and tummy upsets for example. The nurse will discuss these with you prior to vaccination.