The rubella vaccine is used to prevent rubella. It is given by itself or in combination with other vaccines (such as measles or mumps). The first dose of this vaccine should be given at 12 to 15 months of age. The second dose can be given anytime, as long as the child is at least 12 months old and it has been at least a month since the first dose.
Since 1969, a rubella vaccine has been available for the prevention of rubella. Rubella vaccine is contained within the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine and the MR vaccine. The rubella vaccine may also be given alone.
Rubella vaccine is usually given as part of MMR. The MMR vaccine is a live, attenuated (weakened) combination vaccine that protects against the measles, mumps, and rubella viruses. It was first licensed in the combined form in 1971 and contains the safest and most effective forms of each vaccine.
Since most information for rubella vaccine is from MMR vaccine studies, this article will use "rubella vaccine" and "MMR vaccine" to mean the same thing, unless otherwise specified.
You do not need this vaccine if:
- You had blood tests that show you are immune to rubella
- You are a man born before 1957
- You are a woman born before 1957 who is sure she is not having more children, has already had rubella vaccine, or has had a positive rubella test
- You already had two doses of rubella vaccine or one dose of rubella plus a second dose of measles vaccine.
You should get the rubella vaccine if you are not among the categories listed above, and:
- You are a college student, trade school student, or other student beyond high school
- You work in a hospital or other medical facility
- You travel internationally, or are a passenger on a cruise ship
- You are a woman of childbearing age.