Rubella

About the vaccine

Did you know?

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

Vaccination is the best way to prevent rubella.  There are two vaccines available in BC that provide protection against rubella:

These vaccines are provided free as part of routine childhood immunizations and to others that need protection against rubella. The MMR and MMRV vaccines are safe and effective.  

Rubella vaccine recommendations 

Children (12 months - less than 18 years of age)

Children are offered two doses of rubella-containing vaccine as part of their routine immunizations. The first dose (MMR vaccine) is routinely given to children at 12 months of age and the second dose (MMRV vaccine) at 4-6 years of age. While a single dose of rubella-containing vaccine is recommended for rubella protection, two doses of measles, mumps and varicella-containing vaccines are required for protection against these infections.

Adults (18 years of age and older, excluding health care workers)

One dose of rubella-containing vaccine is recommended for adults born in1957 or later who have not had rubella disease (for those who have had rubella disease, evidence of immunity is required).

Adults born before 1957 are assumed to have protection against rubella from natural infection.

Health care workers

Health care workers need one dose of rubella-containing vaccine. There is no age above which protection against rubella can be assumed for health care workers.

Where can I find more information?

For more information about the MMR and MMRV vaccines, 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.