All children aged ≥12 months are recommended to receive 2 doses of measles-containing vaccine.

The vaccines usually received at each schedule point are:

  • 12 months of age — MMR 
  • 18 months of age — MMRV

Age at 1st dose

Measles-containing vaccines are not routinely recommended for infants <12 months of age. This is because maternal antibodies to measles persist in many infants until approximately 11 months of age. These may interfere with active immunisation before 12 months of age.1 

There is some evidence that a dose provided at ≥11 months (but before 12 months) of age is sufficiently immunogenic. This means that doses given in this time frame may not need to be repeated in all cases. See also Table. Minimum acceptable age for the 1st dose of scheduled vaccines in infants in special circumstances in Catch-up vaccination.

Children as young as 6 months of age can receive MMR vaccine in certain circumstances, including travel to highly endemic areas and during outbreaks. See Travellers. If an infant receives MMR vaccine at <11 months of age, they still need to also receive the 2 recommended vaccine doses at ≥12 months of age, usually received at 12 and 18 months.

Age at 2nd dose

Children >12 months of age who have received 1 dose of measles-containing vaccine can receive the 2nd dose of measles-containing vaccine early (if at least 4 weeks after the 1st dose has elapsed) if they are at risk of coming in contact with measles.2 See Public health management.

MMRV as 1st dose is not recommended

MMRV vaccine is not recommended as the 1st dose of measles-containing vaccine in children <4 years of age. This is due to a small but increased risk of fever and febrile seizures when MMRV vaccine is given as the 1st dose of measles-containing vaccine in this age group. (See Adverse events).

If MMRV vaccine is inadvertently given as dose 1 of measles-containing vaccine, the dose does not need to be repeated (providing it was given at ≥12 months of age). The scheduled 18-month dose of MMRV should still be given at the usual time. See Table. Minimum acceptable age for the 1st dose of scheduled vaccines in infants in special circumstances in
Catch-up vaccination. Advise parents and carers about the small but increased risk of fever and febrile seizures (compared with that expected after MMR vaccine).

For more details about MMRV vaccine to prevent varicella disease, see Varicella.

Catch-up vaccination for measles

Children who have not received measles-containing vaccine at the recommended schedule points may need extra doses of vaccine and/or an alternative schedule. 

See Catch-up vaccination for more details, including minimum intervals between doses.

Page history

Last updated: 
12 April 2019
Last reviewed: 
12 April 2019

Definitions

MMR
measles-mumps-rubella
MMRV
measles-mumps-rubella-varicella