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Vaccines and Immunizations

MMR (measles, mumps, rubella)

Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)are viral infections. Without vaccination, the viruses pose risks of complications leading to serious illness. In severe cases, they can be fatal. The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps and rubella and helps to avert potentially dangerous diseases. The MMR vaccine is strongly recommended for all children by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC also recommends that adults who have not had a vaccination or the diseases be immunized with an MMR vaccine. In most of the United States, one must prove that their children are vaccinated before they can enter school.

What is the MMR vaccine?

The MMR vaccine is an immunizing agent designed to prevent infection by inoculating your body to produce antibodies as protection against the viruses.

Before administering the vaccination, your MinuteClinic provider will thoroughly review your medical history with you. They may direct you to another health care setting if you have any of the following conditions:

  • You experienced a severe allergic reaction following the first MMR shot.

  • You are allergic to gelatin or neomycin.

  • You may be pregnant or plan to become pregnant during the upcoming four weeks.

  • Your immune system is weakened due to cancer treatment, corticosteroid therapy or AIDS.


What is measles?

Measles is a highly contagious viral infection. Symptoms start with a cough, fever, runny nose, conjunctivitis (pinkeye), and a red, pinpoint rash that begins appearing on the face then spreads to the rest of the body. If the lungs get infected by the virus, it can cause pneumonia. Measles complications in older children can lead to inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) and can cause seizures (convulsions), brain damage, and possibly death.

Other complications of measles include:

  • Ear infections

  • Sinus disease

  • Pneumonia

  • Stomach ailments

The potential risks of severe complications and death are higher for adults and infants than for children and teenagers.


What is mumps?

The mumps virus usually causes swelling in the glands located just below the ears and gives the appearance resembling chipmunk cheeks. Mumps is an infection that can potentially cause severe complications, such as encephalitis (swelling of the brain) and meningitis (inflammation of the brain and spinal cord lining). Adolescent boys and men who become infected are at risk of a condition called orchitis. The complication causes pain and swelling of the testicles. In rare cases, even sterility. If a pregnant woman becomes infected, mumps infection can induce spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) during the first three months (first trimester) of pregnancy. Before the development of vaccines, mumps was the most common cause of meningitis and acquired deafness in the U.S. in men.


What is rubella?

Rubella (German measles) is a viral infection that can cause miscarriages, stillbirths or congenital issues in unborn babies when pregnant women get infected by the virus. Symptoms of rubella are a mild rash on the face, and swelling of the glands behind the ears. In some cases, swelling at the small joints of the body and low-grade fever may occur. Most children infected by rubella recover quickly without lasting effects. However, if a pregnant woman gets infected with rubella, the consequences can be devastating. When the infection occurs during the first trimester of pregnancy, there is at least a 20 percent chance of the child birthing with congenital disorders such as blindness, deafness, a heart condition or intellectual disabilities. Immunization is of particular importance for women of childbearing age and persons traveling outside the U.S.


  1. Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) Vaccination: What Everyone Should Know (Accessed 3 September 2019)

  2. Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) Vaccine (Accessed 3 September 2019)

  3. Your Child's Immunizations: Measles, Mumps & Rubella Vaccine (MMR) (Accessed 3 September 2019)

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