Get protected, get immunized.
The MMR vaccine protects against the diseases measles, mumps, and rubella.
Measles is a virus that spreads easily through the air when someone who has measles coughs or sneezes. It can cause:
Measles can be dangerous because:
Mumps is a virus that spreads by coughing, sneezing, or having contact with saliva (such as kissing or sharing toys). You can have no symptoms but still spread mumps. It can cause:
Rubella is a virus that spreads by coughing or sneezing. It’s usually mild. It can cause:
If you get rubella while you are pregnant, it can cause loss of a baby during pregnancy (a
miscarriage or stillbirth) or the baby may be born with disabilities.
The following people can get this vaccine:
Your healthcare provider may suggest you have the MMR vaccine if you are having a bone marrow transplant.
The number of doses you get of the MMR vaccine depends on your age and risk of contact with these diseases.
Children: measles, mumps, rubella Children need 2 doses of an MMR vaccine. As of January 1, 2021, children get their first dose at age 12 months and the second dose at age 18 months. Children usually get an MMR vaccine that’s combined with the chickenpox vaccine (MMR-Var).
If a child didn’t get an MMR or MMR-Var vaccine at age 18 months, they’ll get it at age 4 years.
Any dose a child gets before age 12 months don’t count towards the 2 doses that they need to protect them against these diseases.
Adults: measles and mumps Adults born in 1970 or later need 2 doses of measles and mumps vaccine.
If you were born before 1970, you likely don't need this vaccine. That's because there is a high chance you had contact with measles and mumps when you were younger. Your body remembers these viruses and knows how to fight them.
You may need extra protection if you have a high risk of contact because of where you work, where you travel, or, what you study (if you are a student). If you’re born before 1970 and are:
Adults: rubella Adults born in 1957 or later need at least 1 dose of rubella vaccine.
Most adults born before 1957 are thought to be protected against rubella and don’t need this vaccine. You may need extra protection if you have a high risk of contact because of where you work. You’ll need 1 or more doses of this vaccine if you’re born before 1957 and are a healthcare worker or a daycare worker.
Your healthcare provider may also suggest you get a second dose of rubella vaccine if a blood test shows that you aren’t protected.
If you’re having an organ transplant, ask your healthcare provider how many doses of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine you need.
MMR-Var vaccine protects against measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (chickenpox).
After 1 dose, protection is about:
You can get the vaccine at a public health office in your area.
There can be side effects from the MMR vaccine. They tend to be mild and go away in a few days, but side effects can happen up to 6 weeks after having this vaccine. They may include:
It’s important to stay at the clinic for 15 minutes after your vaccine. Some people may have a rare but serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. If anaphylaxis happens, you will get medicine to treat the symptoms.
It’s rare to have a serious side effect after a vaccine. Call Health Link at 811 to report any serious or unusual side effects.
You may not be able to get this vaccine if you:
If you’re planning to get pregnant, wait 1 month after getting this vaccine before you start trying to get pregnant. Check with your doctor or a public health nurse before you get the vaccine.
You can still get the vaccine if you have a mild illness, such as a cold or fever.
Many adults and children are afraid of needles. You can do many things before, during, and after immunization to be more comfortable. Visit
Commitment to Comfort for tips to make immunization a better experience.
Current as of: July 4, 2022
Author: Provincial Immunization Program, Alberta Health Services
This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.