Children typically receive the first MMR injection between 12 and 15 months of age, followed by another injection just before starting elementary school. The vaccine may also be given to adults in some cases -- for adults, the recommended dose of MMR is one injection, or possibly two. Children as young as six months old may get vaccinated in the event of an outbreak.
An Introduction to Dosing With MMRThe dosage of MMR vaccine (officially known as M-M-R® II) your healthcare provider recommends will vary, depending on the following factors:
- Your age
- Your previous vaccination history.
Typical MMR Vaccination ScheduleFor most children, the standard MMR dosing schedule consists of two doses. The first is given at 12 to 15 months of age, and the second is given just before entering elementary school. In outbreak situations, MMR can be given to infants as young as six months old, although the normal two doses will still be necessary.
The second MMR dose can be given as soon as 28 days after the first dose, if desired.
Interestingly, the second dosage of MMR is not a "booster" dose (designed to provide additional protection from the diseases). Instead, it is used to provide immunity for the small but significant portion of people who fail to respond to the first dose.
Depending on your state requirements for school entry, your child may be able to skip the second dose if you can provide documentation (through blood tests known as "titers") that your child is immune to measles, mumps, and rubella. In rare cases, individuals may fail to respond to two doses.
Other Vaccination SchedulesIn general, the MMR vaccine is also recommended for adults who cannot provide documentation of previous vaccination with MMR (or of immunity through a titer blood test). At least one dosage (perhaps two) may be recommended in such situations.
Also, some parents prefer to avoid combination vaccines, choosing to use individual vaccines instead. At this time, individual measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines are not available, although Merck states that they may possibly be available again sometime in the future.