Measles 101: Commonly Asked Questions

April 10, 2015



Following the outbreak on the West Coast earlier this year, measles cases continue to rise across the country. Vaccination is the key to not contracting measles, mumps and rubella and this is one of the most effective routine vaccines we give our patients at Texas Children’s Pediatrics.

Below are some of the most commonly asked questions our practices have received over the last few months. Should you have additional questions regarding your child’s immunization status, don’t hesitate to contact your pediatrician.

What is the recommended MMR vaccine schedule?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children should receive the first dose of vaccine between 12-15 months of age. The second vaccine should be given between 4 and 6 years of age.

Can my child get the MMR vaccine before its scheduled time?
Though the recommended MMR dosage schedule is at 12 to 15 months for the first dose and at 4 to 6 years for the second dose of this vaccine, the second dose can be given at any age as long as 28 days have passed since the first dose.

Once my child gets the second measles vaccine is he/she fully protected from the measles?
Two doses of MMR vaccine is approximately 97 percent effective in protecting against the measles virus, assuming the first dose was not given prior to the patient’s first birthday.

If my child received one dose of the measles vaccine are they still able to contract the virus?
If a child only receives one dose of the vaccine, they are 95 percent protected against the virus.

How long does it take for the vaccine to start working once we get the vaccine?
If a susceptible child is exposed to measles, a measles vaccination given up to 72 hours after exposure and may provide protection against measles in that child.

Can my child get measles if they have been vaccinated?
It is very unlikely that a child will get the measles after they have received two doses of the vaccine at the appropriate age and interval. When both doses of the MMR vaccine are given, 97 of 100 immunized persons are protected from measles.

We are traveling, should my baby get their first dose?
Yes, if a child is older than 6 months and traveling internationally (any location outside of the United States). Any child less than a year of age will still need two additional doses of the MMR vaccine starting from their first birthday.

For more information about Texas Children’s Pediatrics, including a list of our practices, visit here.

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