About the Measles vaccine

  • The measles vaccine protects against measles, a very contagious disease caused by the measles virus.
  • In the Yukon, measles vaccination is a 2 dose series and is part of the combination immunization known as MMR, which protects infants and children from measles, mumps and rubella, all in 1 shot.
  • The measles vaccination is a live vaccine that contains a weakened form of 3 viruses, including measles, mumps and rubella, that do not cause infection.

  • The MMR vaccine is given to children as a series of 2 doses.
    • the 1st dose is given at 12 months of age; and
    • the 2nd dose is given at 4 to 6 years of age.
  • Children 4 to 12 years of age who also need protection against chickenpox (varicella) can get their 2nd dose as the combined measles, mumps, rubella and varicella (MMRV) vaccine.
  • Older children and teens who have not been vaccinated should also get 2 doses of the MMR vaccine.
  • The MMR vaccine is not routinely recommended for individuals born before 1970 as it is generally assumed they have acquired immunity to measles from natural infection. There may be susceptible individuals in this age group, however, and those without a history of measles vaccine or disease may be considered susceptible and offered MMR vaccine per the routine schedule.
  • Non-immune health care workers, students of post-secondary educational settings and travelers to outside of North America should receive 2 doses of the MMR vaccine.
  • This vaccine should not be given during pregnancy. It is important to ensure MMR immunization is complete before pregnancy. Female recipients should avoid pregnancy for 1 month following immunization.
  • Measles, also known as red measles, is a highly contagious virus.
  • It is easily spread through the air by the respiratory droplets of an infected person coughing, sneezing or breathing. This virus can survive in small droplets in the air for several hours and you can catch it just by being in a room where a person with measles has been.
  • Measles causes:
    • fever;
    • runny nose;
    • red eyes; and
    • a rash on the face and body.
  • It can also lead to ear infections and pneumonia (infection of the lungs).
  • More serious complications include brain swelling (encephalitis), seizures, deafness, permanent brain damage and even death.
  • If infected during pregnancy, measles can increase the risk of miscarriage and premature delivery.
  • According to the World Health Organization, measles is a leading cause of vaccine-preventable deaths in children across the world. Since measles is so easy to catch in certain countries, travellers who are not vaccinated can bring the measles back home.
  • About 1 in 3000 people with measles can die from complications.
  • This vaccine is safe and very effective.
  • The MMR vaccine is the best way to protect against measles and its complications.
  • The MMR vaccine is a combination vaccine that also protects against 2 other infections, mumps and rubella.
  • When you or your child get vaccinated, you help protect the spread to others too.
  • This vaccine is free in the Yukon for those who need it.
  • Most children and adults have no reactions to immunization. For those that do, common reactions to the immunization may include redness, tenderness, and swelling at the injection site. Some may develop a mild to moderate fever, a skin rash and swelling of glands in the cheek or neck, 7 to 12 days after vaccination. If the rash resembles chickenpox, keep it covered or stay way from pregnant women, infants and people with weak immune systems. Teenage and adult women may experience temporary joint pain.
  • Rarely, serious reactions that may occur include seizures caused by fever, low blood platelet count and encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). These reactions are very rare and the risk of them occurring is much higher following infection then vaccination.
  • Side effects of the immunization are easily relieved by applying a cold and damp compress to the site and administering acetaminophen or ibuprofen for temperatures 38.5°C or higher. See your health care provider if your symptoms are severe or last longer than 48 hours.
  • It is important to stay in the clinic for 15 minutes after getting any immunization because there is a rare possibility of developing a severe allergic reaction which is treatable at the clinic. This happens to fewer than 1 in 1 million people. If it happens after you leave the clinic, call 911 or the local emergency number. If you or your child experiences any serious or unexpected reactions, contact your physician and report all severe reactions to one of the nurses at your local Health Centre.

PROQUAD® potential allergens include:

  • hydrolysed gelatin;
  • neomycin;
  • bovine serum albumin; and
  • egg protein.

MMRII® potential allergens include:

  • hydrolyzed gelatin;
  • neomycin
  • phenol red
  • fetal bovine serum; and
  • egg protein.

PRIORIX® potential allergens include:

  • neomycin sulphate; and
  • egg protein.

Find out how to get immunized