The CDC recommends that caregivers of young children and adolescents protect their kids from the highly contagious measles virus by receiving the two-dose measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.

Children over 6 months are eligible to get two doses of the MMR vaccine, which protects against all known strains of measles. Typically, the first dose should be provided when the child is 12 to 15 months of age and the second dose when 4 to 6 years of age. The MMR vaccine doses are typically provided years apart due to their long-lasting nature, however, children in high-risk settings can get their second dose sooner, so long as it is 28 days after the first dose. 

Children who are traveling with family to overseas areas where measles is less controlled may require slightly different vaccine timing to provide the best protection while abroad. In most cases, children should complete the doses at least two weeks before traveling.

  • If your child is 6 to 11 months of age, they should get one dose before traveling. 
  • If your child is 12 months of age or older, they should receive two MMR vaccine doses, spaced at least 28 days apart, before traveling.

Children who are unvaccinated, under-vaccinated, or unsure of their vaccination status should receive an MMR vaccine immediately. Unvaccinated people who have been exposed to measles can still receive the MMR vaccine up to 72 hours after exposure to help prevent or reduce the severity of an infection.

There is also another vaccine bundle available to children 12 months to 12 years old that can further protect your child’s developing immune system. This vaccine targets the measles-mumps-rubella-varicella (MMRV) viruses and protects your child from four highly contagious diseases.

For additional and more personalized information about pediatric vaccine administration options, caregivers should contact their child’s healthcare provider.

Added February 27, 2024