About the vaccine

Did you know?

Rubella infection in early pregnancy can cause serious harm to the unborn baby. 

The rubella vaccine is combined with the mumps and measles vaccine (MMR vaccine), so a person can receive protection from several diseases with one shot.

Over 97% of individuals develop immunity after one dose of rubella vaccine.

Who should get the MMR vaccine? 

The MMR vaccine is provided free as part of your child’s routine immunizations. The MMR vaccine is given to children as a series of 2 doses. The first dose is given at 12 months of age. As of January 1, 2012, the second dose of the vaccine was moved from 18 months of age to 4 to 6 years of age.  For children who also need protection against chickenpox (varicella), the 2nd dose of vaccine can be given as the combined measles, mumps, rubella and varicella (MMRV) vaccine. 

The MMR vaccine is also provided free to the following people:

  • Infants aged 6 to 11 months who will be travelling to countries where there is measles, mumps or rubella disease, or that are known to have been in contact with someone with measles
  • Women of child-bearing age who are not immune to rubella
  • Older children and adults who have not been immunized or do not have evidence of immunity to measles, mumps and rubella.

The MMR vaccine is safe. It is much safer the get the vaccine than to get measles, mumps or rubella.

For more information about the vaccine, including the benefits, possible reactions after the vaccine and who should not get the vaccine, see the HealthLinkBC files:

About the disease

  • Rubella (German Measles) is an acute disease caused by a virus.
  • Its symptoms are fever, rash, and swollen glands that usually last 2-3 days. Most cases are mild.
  • The rash, which may be itchy, begins first on the face and then moves downwards from head to foot, and lasts about three days. About half of all rubella infections show no symptoms of a rash.
  • Rubella is spread by contact with an infected person, through coughing and sneezing
  • A person with rubella is contagious and can spread the disease to others, from seven days before to seven days after the rash first appears.
  • Rubella infection in early pregnancy can cause serious harm to the unborn baby.  If a pregnant woman who has no protection against rubella is infected, she may have a miscarriage or stillbirth, or the baby may be born with severe abnormalities. A pregnant woman who does not know if she is immune to rubella should be tested during her pregnancy, and if not immune, should be vaccinated after the birth of her baby

Due to routine childhood immunization programs, it is quite rare to have cases of childhood Rubella disease.

For more information on this disease, see the rubella (14d) HealthLink BC File

Photo courtesy of Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.