Questions & Answers
Measles - The Vaccine
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  1. Who should NOT receive measles vaccine?

    The following people should not receive MMR vaccine:

    • People who had a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine or one of its components (e.g., generalized hives, swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat, difficulty breathing).
    • Anyone who experiences a severe allergic reaction before or after the first dose of MMR should not receive a second dose.
    • Pregnant women or women who are considering pregnancy within the next month.
    • People who are immune suppressed.
    • People with moderate to severe acute illnesses.

    In the past, it was believed that people who were allergic to eggs would be at risk of an allergic reaction from the vaccine because the vaccine is grown in tissue from chick embryos. However, recent studies have shown that this is not the case. Therefore, MMR may be given to egg-allergic individuals without prior testing or use of special precautions.

    Some of these serious allergic reactions may be related to a severe allergy to gelatin. If you or a family member has a severe allergy to gelatin, tell your health care worker.

    Severely immunocompromised people should not be given MMR vaccine. This includes people with conditions such as congenital immunodeficiency, AIDS, leukemia, lymphoma, generalized malignancy, and those receiving treatment for cancer with drugs, radiation, or large doses of corticosteroids. Household contacts of immunocompromised people should be vaccinated according to the recommended schedule. Although people with AIDS or HIV infection with signs of serious immunosuppression should not be given MMR, people with HIV infection without symptoms can and should be vaccinated against measles.

  2. What about pregnant or breastfeeding women?

    Women who are breast-feeding can be vaccinated. Children and other household contacts of pregnant women should be vaccinated according to the recommended schedule.