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, it is so contagious that if an individual has measles, 9 out of 10 of their close contacts who are not immune will also become infected. Symptoms include rash, cough, runny nose, eye irritation, and fever. Infected people can spread measles to others from four days before through four days after the rash appears.

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), as of June 2019, more than 1,000 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in more than 26 states—the largest number of cases since measles was eliminated in the US in 2000.

Measles can be serious:
  • About 1 in 4 people in the US who get measles will be hospitalized
  • 1 out of every 1,000 people with measles will develop brain swelling, which could lead to brain damage
  • 1 or 2 out of 1,000 people with measles will die, even with the best care

Infant & Childhood Immunization Recommendations
In the US, two doses of the MMR vaccine are 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, CDC recommends that any baby as young as 6 months old that will be travelling internationally should get a vaccine before leaving the US, 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. 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 a 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

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 Immunization Materials

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

Immunization 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)

Understanding MMR Vaccine Safety

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)