Never Seen Measles? 5 Things to Know

Andrew T. Pavia, MD


May 02, 2019

In This Article

5. MMR Vaccine Doses Can Be Given Earlier

Two doses of MMR vaccine administered after 12 months of age are required for full protection, but children can get the second dose as early as 28 days after the first dose, so it's not necessary to wait until children are 4-5 years of age.

During non-outbreak periods, the recommended schedule for children is to give the first dose at age 12-15 months. The second dose is routinely given before school entry at age 4-6 years. However, the ACIP makes it clear that during outbreaks or before travel, the second dose can be given as soon as 28 days after the first dose. It will count towards completing immunization requirements in children at least 1 year of age.

For infants aged 6-11 months who are at high risk for exposure to measles, a dose of MMR vaccine can be given. It will provide reasonable short-term protection. However, it's not considered a valid first dose, and another dose must be given after the child's first birthday. In the current outbreak situation, it's wise to consider moving the second dose up for children aged 12 months or older, and to give an early dose to children aged 6-11 months who live in areas where transmission is ongoing or who will be traveling.


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