Measles Vaccination Recommendations
Information on measles vaccination recommendations for health professionals.
Vaccination is the best way to prevent measles.
Measles vaccine is available combined with mumps and rubella vaccines as MMR, or MMR combined with varicella vaccine as MMRV. The MMR vaccine is a live-attenuated (weakened) vaccine that produces a mild, non-infectious response.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that MMR be used when any of the individual components is indicated. Single-antigen measles vaccine is not available in the United States.
MMR vaccine provides long-lasting protection against measles.
Infants: If traveling internationally, infants 6 through 11 months old should receive 1 dose of MMR vaccine before departure.
- Infants who receive a dose of MMR vaccine before their first birthday should receive 2 more doses of MMR vaccine at the recommended ages and at least 28 days apart.
Children: Children should receive 2 doses of MMR vaccine–the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age and the second dose 4 through 6 years of age.
- Giving the second dose of the vaccine earlier is allowed as long as it is at least 28 days after the first dose.
Students/travelers/health care personnel: Unless they have evidence of measles immunity, college and other students, health care personnel, and international travelers need 2 doses that have been given on or after age 1 and at least 28 days apart.
Adults: All other adults born in or after 1957 should have documentation of at least 1 dose of MMR or other evidence of measles immunity.
Contraindications and precautions to MMR vaccination
Patients who are severely immunocompromised for any reason should not be given MMR vaccine. However, HIV-infected individuals may receive MMR vaccination if they are not severely immunosuppressed. HIV-infected children may receive MMR vaccine if CD4+ T-lymphocyte count is >15 percent; HIV-infected adults may receive MMR vaccine if they are not severely immunocompromised (i.e., CD4 count is 200 cells/µL or greater).
Women known to be pregnant should not receive measles vaccine. Pregnancy should be avoided for 4 weeks following MMR vaccine.
Persons receiving large daily doses of corticosteroids (>2 mg/kg per day or >20 mg per day of prednisone) for 14 days or more should not receive MMR vaccine because it can lead to complications. Avoid MMR vaccination for at least one month after stopping high dose therapy.
Administration of blood products and immune globulin require waiting a certain period of time before administration of measles vaccine.
Refer to the most current Vaccine Information Statement for measles.
- Close contact with a pregnant woman is not a contraindication to MMR vaccination of the contact.
- Breastfeeding is not a contraindication to vaccination of either the woman or the breastfeeding child.
- Persons receiving low dose or short course (<14 days) corticosteroid therapy, alternate-day treatment, maintenance physiologic doses, or topical, aerosol, intra-articular, bursal, or tendon injections may be vaccinated.
- Patients with leukemia in remission who have not received chemotherapy for at least 3 months may receive MMR or its component vaccines.
- For more information, see:
Effectiveness of MMR vaccine
MMR vaccine is about 93 percent effective at preventing measles after 1 dose and about 97 percent effective after 2 doses.
- The second dose of MMR is administered to provide a second chance to respond to vaccination.
- Very few people who get 2 doses of measles vaccine will still get measles if exposed to the virus.