With the rise in measles cases this year, folks are asking when they routinely get the measles vaccine to help make sure they are vaccinated and protected.
Unfortunately, there isn’t an easy answer.
When Do You Get the Measles Vaccine?
Well, there kind of is.
Today, we routinely give:
- the first dose of the measles vaccine (MMR) when toddlers are 12 to 15 months old, and
- the second dose of MMR when they are 4 to 6 years old
However, if you are at high risk to get measles, especially if you are planning to travel out of the country or to specific areas with active outbreaks, you should get those doses early.
Early Doses of MMR
As early as age six months.
In fact, high-risk infants 6 through 11 months of age should receive one early dose of MMR vaccine, a dose that will have to be repeated when they are 12 months old. This early dose is mostly about international travel though and not travel within the United States, unless there is a specific recommendation in a local area.
“For outbreaks with sustained, community-wide transmission affecting infants <12 months of age and with ongoing risk of exposures to infants, health departments may consider vaccination of infants aged 6-11 months in these affected areas (including visitors) with 1 dose of MMR vaccine. This recommendation should be made following careful assessment of the benefit of early protection against measles during a period of increased transmission and exposure, and risk of decreased immune response following subsequent MMR doses in infants vaccinated at <12 months of age compared with infants vaccinated at ≥12 months of age.”Manual for the Surveillance of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases
And children 1 to 3 years of age who are high-risk should receive two doses of MMR vaccine (instead of waiting to get the second dose when they are 4-6 years old), separated by at least 28 days.
This second dose doesn’t have to be repeated though.
When Did We Use to Give the Measles Vaccine?
Still, more than a review of the current immunization schedule, most folks want to know when we used to get vaccinated against measles. That’s what might help you figure out if you are vaccinated and protected.
Hopefully, you can just check your shot records too.
It might also help to know that we began:
- giving the first measles vaccine in 1963. This doesn’t count as a dose of measles vaccine though, as it didn’t provide long-lasting protection.
- giving the first improved, live measles vaccine in 1967.
- using the combined MMR in 1971.
- offering a second dose of MMR to kids in 1990.
So, how many doses have you had?
What to Know About Getting an MMR Vaccine
If you haven’t had two doses and are at high risk to get measles, get caught up and protected. Keep in mind that you don’t need to check your titers first and you won’t need a third dose of MMR. Titers might be a good idea if you were born before 1957 and aren’t sure if you had a natural case of measles.
“The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from measles is by getting vaccinated. You should plan to be fully vaccinated at least 2 weeks before you depart. If your trip is less than 2 weeks away and you’re not protected against measles, you should still get a dose of MMR vaccine.”Before international travel: Make sure you’re protected against measles
Lastly, if possible, try to get your second dose of MMR at least two weeks before your trip.
More on When We Give the Measles Vaccine
- Who Needs an MMR Vaccine?
- Everything You Need to Know About the Measles Vaccine
- Why Are You Still Worried About the MMR Vaccine?
- What to Do If Your Child Is Exposed to Measles
- More Measles Myths
- CDC – Measles Vaccination
- CDC – Manual for the Surveillance of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases
- Ask the Experts About MMR
- CDC – Before international travel: Make sure you’re protected against measles
- CDC – Don’t Let Measles Be Your Travel Souvenir