They can also lead to complications in pregnancy that affect the unborn baby, and can lead to miscarriage.
Measels, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) is a safe and effective combined vaccine that protects against 3 separate illnesses – measles, mumps and rubella (German measles) – in a single injection. The full course of MMR vaccination requires 2 doses.
Since the MMR vaccine was introduced in 1988, it’s rare for children in the UK to develop these serious conditions.
But outbreaks happen and there have been cases of measles in recent years, so it’s important to make sure that you and your children are up-to-date with the MMR vaccination.
MMR vaccine for babies and pre-schoolers
The MMR vaccine is given on the NHS as a single injection to babies as part of their routine vaccination schedule, usually within a month of their first birthday.
Further information for the MMR vaccine for babies and pre-schoolers is available on the NHS UK website.
MMR for older children
Children up to the age of 18 who missed, or only partially completed, their earlier MMR vaccination can have a “catch-up” MMR vaccination on the NHS.
If you know or suspect your child has not been fully immunised, arrange with your GP for them to have a catch-up MMR vaccination.
MMR for women planning pregnancy
If you’re thinking about getting pregnant, it’s a good idea to check that you’re fully protected against measles, mumps and rubella.
Rubella infection in pregnancy can lead to serious birth defects and miscarriage.
If you’re not sure whether you have had 2 doses of the MMR vaccine, ask your local practice to check.
If you have not had both doses or there’s no record available, you can have the vaccinations at your GP practice.
Further information for the MMR vaccine for women planning pregnancy can be found on the NHS UK website.
MMR for non-immune adults
The MMR vaccine can also be given on the NHS to adults who may need it.
- people born between 1970 and 1979, who may have only been vaccinated against measles
- people born from 1980 to 1990, who may not be protected against mumps
Check with your GP if you’re not sure whether you have had the MMR vaccine.
Further information for the MMR vaccine for non-immune adults can be found on the NHS UK website.