Common symptoms for measles include:
Measles can cause several health complications. Common complications include ear infections and diarrhea. About 1 in 5 people who are not vaccinated in the United States who get measles will be hospitalized. Serious complications include lung infection (pneumonia), dehydration, or swelling of the brain. Before widespread vaccines in the United States, hundreds of people died from measles.
Those who are more likely to have serious complications due to measles are:
If you think you or your someone in your family may have measles because you or they have symptoms , have not been vaccinated against measles, and/or have been traveling:
If you think you have been exposed to measles:
Making sure everyone gets 2 doses of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is the best way to protect yourself, your family, and community against measles. The MMR vaccine is safe and works very well in preventing measles. Two doses are 97% effective, and one dose is 93% effective in preventing measles. The spread of measles can be prevented if at least 95% of community members have received 2 doses of the MMR vaccine.
Most individuals born or attending school in the United States get vaccinated when they are children. They receive their first dose at 12-15 months of age and their second dose at 4-6 years of age. If you are an adult who is travelling internationally, you should get vaccinated against measles if you did not receive 2 doses as a child.
There are many places to get the MMR vaccine. If you have insurance, talk to your doctor or check with your local pharmacy to see what vaccines are offered. Most health insurances cover the cost of all recommended vaccines for children and adults.
If you are uninsured or underinsured, there are programs available to help cover the cost of vaccines. Children who are 18 years of age or younger are eligible to receive vaccines at no cost through the Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program if they are:
Uninsured or underinsured adults can access free or low cost vaccines at select clinics enrolled in the Vaccines for Adults (VFA) program. For more information on who is eligible, read VFA Eligibility Based on Insurance Status. You can use the following resources for more information on locating clinics:
You can also dial 2-1-1 for a list of free or low cost vaccine clinics. This includes Vaccines for Children (VFC) provider locations that serve Medi-Cal eligible children and uninsured or underinsured adults. Learn more about specific vaccine information for different age groups:
Are you not sure if you have been vaccinated against measles or you can’t find your vaccine records?
If you need official copies of your vaccine records, or if you need to update your personal records:
|Number of Doses
|Dose & Route
and/or at least 4 weeks after 1st dose
|0.5 mL Subcutaneous (SQ)
|0.5 mL SQ
|> 19 years
|At least 4 weeks after the 1st dose
MMR & Varicella
or at least 3 months after the 1st dose
|12 months to 12 years
|*An additional dose may be indicated in outbreak situations and foreign travel where measles exposure is likely.
Doses given before 12 months are invalid. May receive 1st dose of MMR 4 days before 1st birthday
1 Associated with a higher risk for fever and febrile seizures in children 12-23 months of age