MMR Vaccine for Adults
When should adults get the MMR vaccine?
The CDC advises that adults born in 1957 or later have at least one dose of MMR vaccine, unless they fall into any of the "exception" groups mentioned below. Because of the risk of birth defects with rubella, all women of childbearing age should have the MMR vaccination unless they're currently pregnant or have lab confirmation of immunity, or documentation of rubella vaccination. Women of childbearing age should also be counseled on congenital rubella syndrome.
The CDC also advises that adults at greater risk of exposure to measles or mumps get a second dose of MMR vaccine, given four weeks after the first dose. The second dose is recommended for adults who:
- Have been exposed to measles or mumps or live in an area where an outbreak has occurred
- Are students in colleges or trade schools
- Travel internationally
- Work in health care facilities
For measles, the CDC also advises a second dose for adults who:
- Were previously given a vaccine made with "killed" measles (instead of the live, attenuated type of vaccine)
- Were given a vaccine made with an unknown vaccine type between 1963 and 1967
Exceptions: Who does not need the MMR vaccine?
You do not need the MMR vaccine if:
- You have documentation of vaccination with an MMR vaccine
- You have blood tests proving you're immune to measles, mumps, and rubella
- You have documentation that you've already had measles or mumps that was officially diagnosed by a doctor
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 take the MMR vaccine due to possible risks to the fetus. Women who get the MMR vaccine should wait four 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 have the vaccine.
Medical conditions. Talk with your doctor before getting the MMR vaccine if you:
- Have a severely compromised immune system due to 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 your immune system
- Have had a low platelet count (a blood disorder)
- Have had a blood transfusion or took blood products
- Currently have a moderate or severe illness
What are the MMR vaccine ingredients?
As with many vaccines, the MMR vaccine works with your immune system to build up immunity by introducing a small amount of the virus into your system. The safest and most effective ingredients in the MMR vaccine currently used today include "attenuated" forms of each virus, which means they're live forms of the virus that have been made weak through scientific modification in medical labs.