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MMR Vaccine for Adults

Exceptions: Who does not need the MMR vaccine?

Adults don't need the MMR vaccine if:

  • They have proof of vaccination already.
  • They have proof that they've already had measles or mumps and rubella. 

Who should not have the MMR vaccine?

Adults who should not have the MMR vaccine include people in these groups:

Pregnancy. Pregnant women should not get the MMR vaccine due to risks to the baby. Women who get the MMR vaccine should wait 4 weeks before getting pregnant.

Life-threatening allergic reactions. Adults who have had a life-threatening allergic reaction to gelatin, a previous MMR vaccine, or a medication called neomycin should not get the vaccine.

Medical conditions. Adults should talk with their doctor if they:

  • Have HIV
  • Have any other immune system disorder
  • Have cancer or are being given cancer drugs or X-rays
  • Are taking steroids or other drugs that affect the immune system
  • Have had a low platelet count (a blood disorder)
  • Have had a blood transfusion or took blood products
  • Have a moderate or severe illness

What are the MMR vaccine ingredients?

As with many vaccines, the MMR vaccine works with the immune system to build up protection by putting a small amount of the virus into the body. The safest and most effective ingredients in the MMR vaccine used today include "attenuated" forms of each virus, which means they're live forms of the virus that have been made weak in medical labs.

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

For most adults, the benefits of the MMR vaccine outweigh the risks. A few people develop a short-term mild rash, fever, swollen glands, or pain and stiffness in the joints after getting the shot. More serious, and rare, side effects include a temporary low platelet count or serious allergic reaction.

Call your doctor if you have trouble breathing, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, hives, weakness, or other problems after vaccination.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on September 08, 2014

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