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Who Should Not Get Measles Vaccine?

Who should not get measles vaccine?

Below are some of the documented contraindications for the MMR vaccine contained in the product insert from Merck:1

  • Persons who have experienced a severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis to an MMR vaccine component, including gelatin and neomycin,should generally not be vaccinated with MMR.
  • Pregnant women should not receive this vaccine, as well as women seeking to become pregnant should avoid become pregnant for 4 weeks subsequent to MMR vaccination.
  • Because case reports have linked measles vaccine to deaths in severely immunocompromised individuals, these persons should not be given MMR either.
  • Individuals with febrile respiratory illness or other active febrile infection should avoid MMR vaccine.
  • In general, persons receiving large daily doses of corticosteroids for 14 days or more should not get MMR vaccine. MMR and other measles-containing vaccines are not recommended for HIV-infected persons with evidence of severe immunosuppression.

Additionally, Merck’s product insert does not recommend giving MMR at the same time as DTP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis) and/or OPV (oral poliovirus vaccine), even though the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has stated that simultaneous administration of the entire recommended vaccine series is acceptable.2

According to the CDC, persons with moderate or severe acute illness should not be vaccinated until the illness has improved. It is recommended that vaccination be delayed for 3 months following receipt of immune globulin for prophy­laxis of hepatitis A; a 7 to 11 month delay is recommended following administration of intravenous immune globulin, depending on the dose. Also, delaying MMR vaccine may be called for if a previous episode of thrombocytopenia occurred within 6 weeks after the previous dose of vaccine.3

The National Institutes of Health has also stated persons with weakened immune systems due to certain cancers, HIV, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or other drugs that suppress the immune system should not get this vaccine. If you are planning on getting pregnant within the next 3 months, you should not get this vaccine.4

IMPORTANT NOTE: NVIC encourages you to become fully informed about Measles and the Measles vaccine by reading all sections in the Table of Contents , which contain many links and resources such as the manufacturer product information inserts, and to speak with one or more trusted health care professionals before making a vaccination decision for yourself or your child. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice.

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1FDA.gov. Merck MMRII. Product Information Insert. Dec. 2007. 

2FDA.gov. MMRII. Product Information Insert. Dec. 2007.  

4 MedlinePlus. MMR Vaccine. National Institutes of Health. Jul. 18, 2012. 

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