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Measles, mumps, rubella, varicella (MMR-Var) vaccine

Learn about the MMR-Var vaccine, effectiveness, side effects, and safety.

Diseases it protects from

Who should get this vaccine

As part of the routine immunization schedule, children get this vaccine starting at age 12 months up to and including 12 years. You do not get this vaccine if you are older than 12 years.

Who should not get this vaccine

Your child may not be able to get this vaccine if:

  • They have an allergy to any part of the vaccine.
  • They had a severe (serious) or unusual side effect after this vaccine or one like it.
  • They have a weak immune system (because of a medicine or a health problem).
  • They have a family history of a weak immune system.
  • They had a blood product in the past 11 months.
  • They had another live vaccine in the past 3 months.
  • They have seizures or a family history of seizures.
  • They had an organ or stem cell transplant.
  • They are pregnant.

If your child has allergies or has had a side effect from this vaccine in the past, check with your child’s doctor or a public health nurse before they get the vaccine.

Although your child can get the vaccine if they have a mild illness such as a cold or fever, they should stay home until they are feeling better to prevent spreading their illness to others.


Children need 2 doses. As of January 1, 2021, children can get their first dose at age 12 months and their second dose at age 18 months. If your child is 18 months or older and they have not had their second dose of MMR-Var vaccine, they can get their second dose at least 3 months after their first dose.

Children may get the second dose earlier if they are travelling outside of Canada or to areas within Canada where measles is spreading. How long you need to wait to get your second dose depends on what vaccine you are getting (MMR or MMR-Var). Check with your healthcare provider when you can get your second dose.

Other vaccines that protect against the same diseases

The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps, and rubella. Younger babies (ages 6 to 11 months), children over age 12 years, and adults who need a vaccine for measles, mumps, or rubella can get this vaccine.

The varicella vaccine protects against varicella.

Get the vaccine

You can get the vaccine at your local public health or community health centre.

Current as of: April 1, 2024
Author: Provincial Immunization Program, Alberta Health Services
Our work takes place on historical and contemporary Indigenous lands, including the territories of Treaty 6, Treaty 7 & Treaty 8 and the homeland of the Métis Nation of Alberta and 8 Métis Settlements. We also acknowledge the many Indigenous communities that have been forged in urban centres across Alberta.