How the MMR vaccine is given

The MMR vaccine is given as a single injection into the muscle of the thigh or upper arm. There may be some redness and swelling on the skin where the injection is given, but this should soon disappear.

Get some practical tips for parents taking a child for MMR vaccination to ease their discomfort.

MMR dosing schedule

The first dose of MMR is given to babies aged around 13 months and the second dose between the ages of three and five years.

In adults, the second MMR dose must be given at least one month after the first.

Read more about who should have the MMR vaccine.

Single vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella

Single vaccines for the three separate conditions (measles, mumps and rubella) are not available on the NHS, but are available at some private clinics.

However, there are certain drawbacks to single vaccines against measles, mumps and rubella:

  • having each of the single vaccines separately usually involves scheduling them several weeks or months apart, and the government recommends that children should have the MMR vaccine within a set timescale
  • using single vaccinations increases the risk of fewer children receiving all the necessary injections
  • the delay between the six separate injections required could put more children at risk of developing measlesmumps or rubella, as well as increase the risk of side effects

There are currently no licensed single vaccines for measles or mumps in the UK, which means the single vaccines available have not been quality checked to make sure they are safe and effective.

Read about one mum's experience of MMR vaccination in her toddler daughter.

Page last reviewed: 04/08/2015

Next review due: 04/08/2017


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