Immunisation providers should make every effort to identify and immunise non-pregnant seronegative women of child-bearing age. This includes women who have had children. See Serological testing for immunity to rubella

The following women are more likely to be seronegative for rubella: 

  • women born overseas (especially in Asia, Pacific islands, sub-Saharan Africa and South America) who entered Australia after the age of routine vaccination
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women living in rural and remote regions
  • non–English speaking women
  • women ≥35 years of age
  • Australian-born Muslim women2-7 

Seronegative women are recommended to receive MMR vaccine. Vaccinated women should avoid pregnancy for 28 days after vaccination.

Although 2 doses of MMR vaccine are routinely recommended, women who show rubella immunity after 1 dose of rubella-containing vaccine do not need another dose. Exceptions are:

Serological testing after vaccination

Vaccinated women of child-bearing age are recommended to be tested for seroconversion 6 to 8 weeks after vaccination (see Serological testing for immunity to rubella). 

Women who have negative or very low antibody levels after vaccination are recommended to have a 2nd dose. However, antibody levels that remain low after a 2nd documented vaccination are unlikely to improve with further vaccinations.8

Page history

Last updated: 
7 June 2018
Last reviewed: 
7 June 2018

Definitions

MMR
measles-mumps-rubella