Measles and MMR Vaccine

Recommendations Regarding Measles Immunization

State Public Health Officials in May 2019 issued this Massachusetts Advisory recommending residents review their measles immunization status. There are no current measles cases in Amherst or surrounding areas, so now is the perfect time to speak with your health care provider about immunization or immunity history.

MMR Vaccine Recommendations

MMR vaccine recommendations for children, adults and travelers can be found on the Massachusetts Department of Public Health website and on the CDC website.    

Summary of MMR Vaccine Recommendations

We urge all residents speak with their Primary Care Provider regarding specific questions, pregnancy, personal situations and concerns regarding immunization or immunity. Below recommendations are based on ACIP (Advisory Committee of Immunization Practice) recommendations from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control). 

  • Children an Adolescents: Two doses. One dose at 12-15 months of age and a second dose at 4-6 years of age. 
  • Adults without evidence of measles immunity: Most adults need one dose. Two doses for high risk adults such as healthcare personnel, post-high school students and internationals travelers.  *Evidence of measles immunity: birth before 1957, laboratory evidence of immunity, laboratory confirmation of disease documented receipt of 1 dose of MMR.

MMR Special Recommendations

Travel Recommendations:

  •  Persons older than 12 months without other evidence of immunity should receive 2 doses: Includes providing a second dose to children aged 1 -4 years before hey reach age 4 -6 years. And includes adults, born 1957, or later, who have only received one routine dose in the past.
  •  Children aged 6 - 11 months should receive 1 dose, they still need 2 subsequent doses at age 12 > months

People born before 1957 or vaccinated prior to 1968

  • People born before 1957 lived through several years of epidemic measles before the first measles vaccine was licensed in 1963. As a results, these people are likely to have had the measles disease and are presumed to be immune. However, if serologic testing indicates that the person is not immune, at least 1 dose of MMR should be administered.
  • People who were vaccinated prior to 1968 with either the inactivated (killed) measles vaccine or measles vaccine of unknown type should be revaccinated with at least one dose of the live attenuated measles vaccine. This recommendation is intended to protect people who may have received killed measles vaccine during 1963-1967 that was not effective.

Other information regarding the MMR vaccine

  • Measles vaccine effectiveness: 1-dose: ~93%. 2-doses: ~97%.
  • The second dose of MMR is necessary for children or adolescents because between approximately 3% and 7% of people do not develop measles immunity after the first dose of vaccine. The second dose is not a booster, it is another chance to develop measles immunity.
  • During an outbreak or after exposure. If an unvaccinated person is exposed to measles, a MMR may be effective if given within the first 72 hours (3 days) after exposure. Immune globulin (IG) may be effective for as long as 6 days after exposure. Do not administer MMR + IG simultaneously, the IG invalidates the vaccine
  • A infant 6 - 12 months of age may benefit from early immunization depending on recommendation by the primary care provider, this would not count towards routine scheduling.