Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine

Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) were once very common diseases in Canada. They are all caused by viruses.

It is much safer to get this vaccine than to get measles, mumps or rubella disease.

About MMR vaccine

Who should receive MMR vaccine?

If you are a woman of childbearing age and you are not immune to rubella, you should get the MMR vaccine as soon as possible. There is no evidence the vaccine will harm unborn children, but you should not have it while pregnant. You should wait at least one month after getting the vaccine before becoming pregnant.

If you are not sure whether you are protected from these diseases, talk to your local public health nurse.

What are possible side effects and risks of the MMR vaccine?

It is common to have redness, swelling and soreness in the area where the needle was given for one or two days. Between 4 and 12 days after getting the vaccine, some children may have a slight fever, a red blotchy rash like measles.

  • For pain or swelling where the needle was given, apply a cool moist towel to the area for about 15 minutes. Repeat as needed.
  • Use acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol® or Tempra®) as directed on the bottle if your child has pain or a fever (temperature over 38 C or 100.4 F).

NOTE: Aspirin® (ASA) is not recommended for persons under 18 years of age because of the increased risk of Reye’s syndrome.

Serious reactions are rare. As with any immunization, unexpected or unusual reactions can occur. If your child has an unusual reaction, speak with your local public health nurse or call Health Link Alberta.  

Talk to a public health nurse before getting this vaccine if your child:

  • Has any severe allergies.
  • Is sick with something more serious than a cold or a fever.
  • Has a weakened immune system.
  • Has been given another live vaccine within the last three months.
  • Has been given immune globulin or other blood products in the past year.
  • Has had thrombocytopenia (low platelet count in the blood) in the past.