Prevention of Rubella
The rubella vaccine has been available since 1969. There is also a combination vaccine that has been licensed since 1971; it is used for prevention of rubella, measles, and mumps.
Since 1969, a vaccine has been available for the prevention of rubella. Rubella vaccine is contained within MMR vaccine or MR vaccine; however, the rubella vaccine may be given alone. Rubella vaccine is usually given as part of MMR (measles, mumps, rubella).
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.
Most infants born in the United States will receive passive protection against rubella in the form of antibodies from their mothers' milk. These antibodies can destroy the vaccine virus if they are present when the vaccine is administered and cause it to be ineffective as a result. By 12 months of age, almost all infants have lost this passive protection. Therefore, the first dose of MMR vaccine should be given at 12 to 15 months.
The second dose of MMR vaccine 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. The second MMR vaccine dose is usually given before the child begins kindergarten or first grade (around four to five years of age) or before entry to middle school (around 11 to 12 years of age). The age at which the second dose is required is generally mandated by state school entry requirements.
More than 95 percent of the people who receive a single dose of MMR vaccine will develop immunity to all three viruses. A second MMR vaccine gives immunity to almost all of those who did not respond to the first dose.