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Vaccines Health Center

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MMR Vaccine for Adults

When should adults get the MMR vaccine? continued...

The CDC says adults at greater risk of measles or mumps should get two doses of MMR vaccine, the second one 4 weeks after the first. This includes adults who:

  • Have been exposed to measles or mumps or live in an area where an outbreak has happened
  • Are students in colleges or trade schools
  • Travel internationally
  • Work in health care

For measles, the CDC advises a second dose for adults who:

  • Were previously given a vaccine made with "killed" measles (instead of the live-type of vaccine used today)
  • Were given an MMR vaccine between 1963 and 1967, but there's no record of what type.

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.

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