The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps and rubella (German measles). The law requires 2 doses of the vaccine for all children attending school in Ontario.
Measles (Red Measles)
Measles is a serious viral infection that spreads very easily from person to person through coughing, sneezing and even talking. There is no treatment for measles.
Symptoms can last for 1 - 2 weeks, and include:
- High fever
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
Mumps is a viral infection that is spread from person to person through coughing, sneezing and even talking. There is no treatment for mumps.Symptoms include:
- Swelling of the cheeks and jaw (caused by an infection of the salivary glands)
Mumps can also cause:
- Meningitis (an infection of the fluid and lining covering the brain and spinal cord) in 1 out of every 10 people (fortunately, mumps meningitis is usually mild)
- Deafness in some children
- Very painful, swollen testicles in about 1 out of 4 teenage boys or adult men; on rare occasions, this may cause sterility
- Painful swelling of the ovaries in 1 out of 20 women
Rubella (German Measles)
Rubella is a viral infection that spreads easily by coughing, sneezing or talking with an infected person. There is no treatment for rubella; while it’s usually mild in children, it can be serious in women.
- Sore throat
- Swollen glands in the neck
- Rash on the face and neck
If a woman gets rubella in the early part of a pregnancy, it is very likely that the baby will be severely affected, or even die.
Getting the vaccine
The MMR vaccine should be given to children:
- Soon after their first birthday
- Again at 4 - 6 years of age
The second dose can be given in a combined vaccine with varicella (chickenpox), called MMRV.
Missing a needle
Two doses of MMR vaccine should be given after the first birthday. If you miss a dose, then your healthcare provider will discuss the “catch-up” schedule with you.
Who should not get the vaccine
You should not get the MMR vaccine if:
- You are ill with a fever or severe new illness
- You have had a severe allergic reaction (called anaphylaxis) to a prior dose of this vaccine, or to neomycin or gelatine
- You have a disease that lowers the body’s ability to fight infections, unless a doctor specifically advises vaccination
- You are taking medication that lowers the body’s ability to fight infections, unless a doctor specifically advises vaccination
- You are pregnant
Speak with your healthcare provider if you:
- Have received immune globulin (IG) or any other injections or transfusions within the last 11 months
- You are to receive immune globulin in the next 2 weeks
Most children will have no side effects from taking the MMR vaccine.
The MMR vaccine can cause tiredness, loss of appetite, rash and/or fever in some children 7 - 12 days after the needle is given. This might last for 1 - 3 days. Swollen glands might also appear. Research shows that serious side effects are very rare.
Deciding not to vaccinate
The vaccine is required by law (Immunization of School Pupils Act Amendment, 2014). Students who are not vaccinated might be suspended from school. Your child will be at risk of getting measles, mumps and rubella if you decide not to vaccinate.
|Parents who choose not to vaccinate...
||Must do the following...
|For personal choice
|For medical reasons
- Have a doctor fill out a medical exemption form
- Bring the form to the Halton Region Health Department
Risks of measles, mumps and rubella vs. risk of vaccine
|Risks of measles, mumps and rubella
||Risk of vaccine
- Measles can lead to ear infections or pneumonia in 1 of 10 children.
- Brain can swell, causing brain damage and developmental delays.
- Risk of death from measles is 1 in 3,000.
- About 1 in 10 people with mumps gets meningitis.
- Mumps can cause painful, swollen testicles in 1/4 males or painful, swollen ovaries in 1/20 females.
- Rubella can lead to chronic arthritis.
- Some people will feel pain and redness at the injection site.
- Up to 26 per cent of females will feel sore joints.
- Serious adverse events are very rare.
How can I prepare my child for vaccination?
- Talk to your child about the vaccine.
- Complete and return the consent form.
- Review helpful ways to deal with fear or anxiety (count to ten, look away from needle, focus on breathing).
- Make sure your child eats on clinic day.
- Make sure your child wears a short sleeve shirt on clinic day.