MedExpress Article Banner
MedExpress Intro Copy

Avoiding measles, mumps and rubella is quite easy. All you need to do is ensure that you and your family receive the proper dose of the MMR vaccine. In this article, we’ll provide information on the vaccine, as well as each of these three diseases.


What is the MMR Vaccine?

The MMR Vaccine is a safe and effective way to protect yourself and your family from measles, mumps and rubella. Thanks to high rates of vaccination, all three of these diseases are much less common in the U.S. Nearly everyone who is fully vaccinated has immunity for two decades before boosters are recommended. Immunity checks are commonly recommended after a primary series with college entry, pregnancy and health care positions.

a sign that says measles, mumps and rubella vaccine

MMR Vaccine Schedule1

Children: It is required that they receive two doses of the MMR vaccine. The first will be at 12-15 months and the second between the ages of four and six. Children ages one through twelve may receive the MMR vaccine together with the varicella vaccine as one MMRV shot. Any child between the ages of six to eleven months traveling outside the U.S. should also receive a dose of MMR vaccine before travel.

All states have vaccination requirements for children who go to childcare and schools. These requirements help maintain high vaccination coverage as a whole keeping vaccine-preventable diseases low. Some children may apply for exemptions from vaccination requirements. These requirements and permitted exemptions vary by area. Check with your local health department for more information.2

The vaccine creates antibodies in approximately 95 percent of children vaccinated at age 12 months and over and in 99 percent of children who receive both doses. The immunity that they receive is documented to be long-term in most individuals.1

Older children and adults: They should receive one or two doses of MMR vaccine if they are not already immune to measles, mumps and rubella, as determined by your provider. In mumps outbreak situations, a third dose of MMR may be recommended.

If you are a college student or the parent of one, you should check the college’s vaccine requirements before classes start.

MedExpress CTA Module

schedule your vaccine at MedExpress

Patients that are seven years of age and older can get their MMR shot at MedExpress.



For your convenience, we accept most major insurances. To verify that your insurance is in-network, visit the Plan Your Visit page. We also offer a discount to those patients who choose to pay in full for their visit at the time of service. Self-pay services are $199.

Before Getting Your Vaccination

In some cases, your provider may decide to postpone your MMR vaccination until a future visit if you or the person getting the vaccine has had any of the following conditions:1

  • Severe, life-threating allergies
  • An allergic reaction after a previous dose of MMR or MMRV vaccine
  • Pregnant or think they might be pregnant, as they should not get the MMR vaccine
  • Weakened immune system
  • Close family history (parents/siblings) history of hereditary or congenital immune system problems
  • Any condition that makes you bleed or bruise easily
  • Recently received a blood transfusion or other blood products
  • Tuberculosis
  • Received any other vaccines in the past four weeks

If you have a minor illness, such as a cold, you may still be vaccinated. If you are moderately or severely ill, you may want to recover before getting the MMR vaccine. Ask your provider for more information.

sign that says measles, mumps and rubella vaccine

What is Measles?

Measles is a highly contagious virus. It starts by infecting the mucus of your nose and throat before leading to a full body rash, as well as fever, cough, red eyes that water and congestion.3 If left untreated, complications include higher fever, ear infections, diarrhea, pneumonia, seizures, brain damage and even death.4

Measles can be serious for anyone of any age. However, several groups are more at risk from measles complications:3

  • Children younger than five
  • Adults older than 20
  • Pregnant women
  • Those with compromised immune systems

How are measles spread?

As measles live in the nose and throat mucus of those infected by it, it is spread through coughing and sneezing. It can also be spread by breathing in contaminated air or touching surfaces with the measles virus, then touching your eyes, nose or mouth. However, animals do not spread measles.4

Is it contagious? Yes. Measles is so contagious that up to 90 percent of those close to anyone infected will also become infected unless they are immune. Those infected with measles can spread it to others from four days before up until four days after the rash appears. The virus can remain behind for up to two hours after an infected person is in an area.6

That is why young children are often at such a risk for measles, as they are close together at daycare or school.

Can you become immune? Yes. You are immune to measles if you were born before 1957 and have received the full does of the MMR vaccine.

Measles outbreaks can happen, but not as frequently in the U.S. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), there have only been 22 cases in 2023 and a total of 121 reported in 2022.This number has greatly decreased since 2019, when 1,274 individual cases of measles were confirmed. The majority of these cases came from patients who were not vaccinated.7

How is it treated? There is no specific antiviral treatment for measles. Any care that patients receive will be to help relieve symptoms or to address complications such as bacterial infections.8

How is it prevented? Ensuring that you and your loved ones are properly vaccinated is your best protection from the measles.

Symptoms of Measles9

Measles symptoms appear between one and two weeks after contact with the virus. They include:

  • Fever up to 104° F
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Pinkeye or watery eyes

Two to three days after symptoms begin: You may notice tiny white spots inside your mouth.

Three to five days after symptoms begin: A measles rash breaks out.

What do measles look like? A measles rash starts as flat red spots near the hairline that spread to the neck, torso, arms, legs and feet. Small, raised bumps appear, starting on the torso. They will join together as they begin to spread across the body. A high fever may also come with the rash.9

What is Mumps?

Mumps is a virus that gets its name from its symptoms of swollen jaw and puffy cheeks.10

The MMR vaccine has greatly reduced mumps cases, yet some outbreaks still happen. Following the same vaccination schedule as you would for measles will offer the same immunity against mumps.11

During an outbreak of the mumps virus, those who have already had one or two doses of the MMR vaccine can still become infected. Public health authorities may recommend an additional dose of the MMR vaccine for those who are at increased risk of getting mumps. They will inform you if you need another dose.12

Cause: Mumps spreads through direct contact with saliva or respiratory droplets. An infected person can spread it by:13

  • Coughing
  • Talking
  • Sneezing
  • Sharing items with saliva on them like bottles or cups
  • Being part of close-contact activities like dancing, kissing or sports

Is it contagious? Yes. Someone infected with mumps can spread it from a few days before their saliva glands swell and five days after the swelling begins. They should limit contact with others at this time and quarantine at home.

The good news? Those who have received two doses of the MMR vaccine have an 88 percent reduction in risk for mumps. Those with one dose have a 78 percent reduction in risk for mumps.14

Your neighborhood MedExpress center offers the MMR shot for patients seven years of age and older.

How is it treated? Those with mumps are cautioned to avoid being around others and quarantine if possible. Supportive care for low grade fever and headache may be necessary.14

How is it prevented? Ensuring that you and your family have received the proper dose of the MMR vaccine is your best protection against mumps. 12 You may also avoid contact with anyone infected by the mumps virus.

Mumps Symptoms

Mumps is best known for causing puffy cheeks and a tender and swollen jaw. Both of these symptoms are the result of saliva glands becoming swollen under the ears. Other symptoms include:13

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of appetite

However, some patients who become infected by the mumps virus have very mild symptoms (like a cold) or no symptoms at all. In fact, they may not know they have the disease.14

How Are Mumps Spread?

Mumps outbreaks often happen between groups of people who have had prolonged closed contact with someone who is contagious. That contact may include playing sports together, sharing water bottles or cups, living in close contact or kissing. Those who are vaccinated may still get mumps, but their symptoms will be milder. 11

Large outbreaks often occur in places where there is frequent close contact, like college campuses, close-knit communities and large gatherings. 15

As of September 8, 2023, a total of 291 mumps cases were reported in the U.S. and there were 322 in 2020. Cases have been reduced over the last few years due to social distancing.15

What is Rubella?

Rubella is also known as German measles. However, it is not caused by the same virus as measles. It was eliminated from the U.S. in 2004. It does remain a problem in other parts of the world and may be brought into the U.S. by someone infected while traveling to another country.16

Is it contagious? A contagious patient may spread rubella for up to one week before the rash appears and up to a week after. However, 25 to 50 percent of those infected will not develop a rash or have any symptoms. However they can still spread it to others.17

If you are contagious, you should tell your friends, family and co-workers. It’s even more important to inform anyone that is pregnant. If your child becomes contagious, it’s important to tell their school or daycare.

Rubella is most serious for mothers in their first trimester. Congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) is when a still developing baby in the womb becomes infected with the rubella virus. The pregnancy is at risk for miscarriage or stillbirth. The baby is also at risk for the following birth defects:18

  • Deafness
  • Cataracts
  • Heart defects
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Liver and spleen damage
  • Low birth weight
  • Skin rash at birth
  • Glaucoma
  • Brain damage
  • Thyroid and other hormone problems
  • Inflammation of the lungs

While some of these symptoms can be treated, there is no known cure for CRS. This is why its critically important for women to ensure that their MMR vaccination is complete before they get pregnant. Because the MMR vaccine is a live virus vaccine, pregnant women who are unvaccinated should wait to get it until after they have given birth.18

Thanks to proper vaccination, only 15 babies with CRS have been reported in the United States from 2005 to 2018.18

How is it treated? There is no specific antiviral treatment for rubella. Luckily, the symptoms are mild in most cases. They can be managed with rest and over-the-counter medicine for fever.

How is it prevented? Since 2020, less than ten people in the U.S. are reported as having rubella each year. The majority of those cases were infected while they were living or traveling outside of the country.

To keep rubella from becoming an issue, it is important that children and women of childbearing age are vaccinated.

Rubella Symptoms

Generally, the symptoms are mild and hard to notice.

Usually, a red rash is the first sign. It starts on the face and then spreads to the rest of the body, unlike the measles which begins on the torso. Additionally, a rubella rash only lasts for three days.

Other symptoms may also appear, including:19

  • Low-grade fever
  • Headache
  • Pink eye
  • Cough
  • General discomfort

25 to 50 percent of those who get rubella will not experience symptoms.19

How is Rubella Spread?

Rubella spreads when a contagious person sneezes or coughs. It can also be spread by a contagious pregnant woman with rubella. She can pass the disease on to her developing baby and cause serious harm.16

If you become contagious with rubella, tell your family and friends, as well as your co-workers (especially pregnant women or their partners). If your child becomes contagious, it’s important to tell their school or daycare.16

How Can MedExpress Help?

MedExpress is here to keep you and your family feeling their best. We offer the MMR shot for patients who are seven years of age and older. You can either schedule your next visit online or just walk in whenever is convenient for you. We’re open from 8 to 8 every day.


1. CDC. MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) VIS. Last updated August 6, 2021. Accessed September 28, 2023.

2. CDC. School Vaccination Requirements and Exemptions. Last updated October 12, 2017. Accessed October 2, 2023.

3. CDC. Transmission of Measles. Last updated November 5, 2020. Accessed September 28, 2023.

4. CDC. Complications of Measles. Last updated November 5, 2023. Accessed September 28, 2023.

5. CDC. Measles Complications. Last updated November 5. Accessed September 28, 2023.

6. CDC. Measles. Last updated August 18, 2021. Accessed September 28, 2023.

7. CDC. Measles Cases and Outbreaks. Last updated September 12, 2023. Accessed September 28, 2023.

8. CDC. Measles For Healthcare Providers. Last updated November 5, 2020. Accessed September 28, 2023.

9. CDC. Measles Signs and Symptoms. Last updated November 5, 2020. Accessed September 28, 2023.

10. CDC. Mumps. Last updated March 8, 2021. Accessed September 28, 2023.

11. CDC. Mumps Vaccination. Last updated September 17, 2021. Accessed September 28, 2023.

12. CDC. Transmission of Mumps. Last updated March 8, 2021. Accessed September 28, 2023.

13. CDC. Mumps CDC Yellow Book 2024. Last updated May 1, 2023. Accessed September 28, 2023.

14. CDC. Signs and symptoms of mumps. Last updated March 8, 2021. Accessed September 28, 2023.

15. CDC. Mumps outbreaks. Last updated September 12, 2023. Accessed September 28, 2023.

16. CDC. Rubella in the US. Last updated December 31, 2020. Accessed September 28, 2023.

17. CDC. Rubella transmission. Last updated December 31, 2020. Accessed September 28, 2023.

18. CDC. Pregnancy and rubella. Last updated December 31, 2020. Accessed September 28, 2023.

19. CDC. Rubella signs and symptoms. Last updated December 31, 2020. Accessed September 28, 2023.

MedExpress Near Location