Questions about MMR

Can my child have the Hib/MenC jab with the MMR and pneumococcal jabs?

Yes, these vaccines can be given together.

The recommended childhood vaccination schedule indicates that MMR is given at around 12 to 13 months of age at the same time as Hib/Men C and the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV).

My child is allergic to eggs. Can she have the MMR vaccination?

Yes, the MMR vaccine can be safely given to children who have a severe allergy to egg. This is because MMR vaccine is grown on chick cells, not the egg white or yolk. If you have any concerns, talk to your health visitor, practice nurse or doctor.

Can the MMR vaccination be given as three separate injections?

Measles, mumps and rubella vaccines are not available separately on the NHS.

I don’t know if my teenage daughter has had her second MMR jab. What should I do?

It is important that she has the MMR jab now. If you are not sure whether she has ever had the MMR jab, she should have one dose now and make an appointment to have a second dose in three months’ time. An extra MMR dose will not cause any harm.

Does the MMR jab contain thiomersal (mercury)?

No, the MMR vaccine has never contained thiomersal (a preservative containing mercury that is used in some vaccines).

My child is due for his MMR jab but I am concerned about the connection between autism and MMR. Could it put him at risk?

There is currrently no scientific evidence of a link between MMR and autism, so you should not worry. Your child should have his MMR jab to protect him against measles, mumps and rubella.

Our son was born six weeks prematurely. Should we delay getting him vaccinated?

No. Babies should receive their vaccinations according to the recommended schedule at around 12 to 13 months of age, irrespective of whether they are born prematurely.

A month after I got vaccinated for MMR, I found out I was pregnant. Will my baby be ok?

Evidence from clinical trials suggests that there will be no harm to your baby. However, you should discuss this with your midwife or GP at the earliest possible opportunity to be further reassured.

Can I have single vaccines on the NHS? If not, where can I buy them?

Measles, mumps and rubella vaccines are not available separately on the NHS.

The NHS does not recommend single measles, mumps or rubella vaccines because there is no evidence to support the use of single vaccines or to suggest that they are “safer” than MMR. Having single vaccines puts your child at risk of catching measles, mumps or rubella in the time inbetween the vaccines.

The NHS does not keep a list of private clinics that provide single vaccines. Clinics that do offer these privately are unlicensed, which means there are no checks on their safety and effectiveness.

No country in the world recommends MMR and then offers parents a choice of having single vaccines instead. Every independent expert group around the world (including the World Health Organization) supports the use of MMR, and none support the use of single vaccines.

Can my child have the MMR vaccine if they have already had single vaccines?

Unless there is reliable evidence that your child has been fully vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella, they will still need to have the MMR vaccine, even if they have had a single vaccine as well.

Live vaccines, such as the MMR vaccine, should be given at least four weeks apart. If your child has received a live single vaccine, they will have to wait at least four weeks until they can have the MMR vaccine.

My son is 18 and has been asked to have a second MMR jab before university. Is this sensible?

Many universities recommend that their students have MMR because there have been outbreaks of mumps among students.

To ensure he is fully protected against mumps, he needs to have had two doses of MMR. Even if he has already had two doses of a measles vaccine, having a third dose to make sure he is protected against mumps will not cause any harm.

If my child develops a mild case of measles after receiving their first MMR vaccine, are they contagious to non-vaccinated children?

No. Post-vaccination symptoms are not infectious, so your child will not pass anything on to non-vaccinated children.

My baby had measles at the age of six weeks. Can I get the vaccine without the measles component?

Although your baby had measles at six weeks, it is still advised that they have the MMR. This will help protect your baby against mumps and rubella and will also boost the antibodies your baby has already developed against measles.

We are due to go travelling and my 14-month-old son is due to have his MMR jab three weeks before we go. Will he have developed immnunity before we go? And can he have travel vaccines at the same time as the MMR?

Immunity to measles, mumps and rubella starts to develop after two weeks, so having his MMR three weeks before travelling is fine. It is also fine to have other travel vaccines on the same day as the MMR.

My child is receiving their MMR jab tomorrow. How long should I leave it before taking them swimming?

There is no reason why your child cannot resume normal activities, including swimming, straight after receiving their MMR jab.

Does MMR give a lifetime of immunity?

The immunity that MMR gives is probably lifelong. It is known that individuals will remain immune for at least 30 years against measles, 23 years against rubella and 19 years against mumps.

If in the future evidence shows that immunity is fading, decisions would be made about offering a further dose in the adult years, for example.

I have heard that mumps is going around. I thought that MMR prevented mumps, so why is this happening?

You need two doses of MMR to be protected against mumps. MMR was introduced in 1988, with a second dose introduced in 1996, so some teenagers and young people have not had two doses of MMR. This has led to several recent outbreaks of mumps among this age group.

If you think this applies to you, you should book an appointment for the second dose now. If you have never had the MMR vaccine, you should have one dose now and another three months later.

Our 14-month-old son had his MMR jab last week. I am 12 weeks pregnant – is there any risk of my son affecting my unborn child?

There is no risk to your unborn baby as it is impossible for anyone to catch any of the diseases from a child recently vaccinated with MMR.