MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine leaflets

Patient Experience

  • Reference Number: HEY1410-2024
  • Departments: Infection Prevention and Control
  • Last Updated: 1 March 2024

Have your children had both their MMR vaccinations?

The best protection we have from these serious, preventable illnesses is the MMR vaccine.

Children should have their first MMR vaccine at 1 year old, and second dose at 3 years and 4 months old. Two doses of the MMR vaccine are needed to give full protection.

Over 99% of people who have had two doses of the MMR vaccine will be protected against measles and rubella. Cases of mumps in vaccinated people are much less severe than those who are unvaccinated.

Anyone who has not had two doses of the MMR vaccine should make it a priority, regardless of age. If you are not sure if you, or someone in your family, has had two MMR vaccines contact your GP practice online to check. Your GP practice will be able to arrange a catch-up vaccination if needed.

Everything you need to know about the MMR vaccination

Is the MMR vaccine safe?

The MMR vaccine has been safely protecting against measles, mumps and rubella since 1988. The vaccination has undergone rigorous safety testing. It is trusted across the world to protect against these
potentially deadly, preventable diseases.

What side effects will my child have after the MMR vaccine?

Side effects from the MMR vaccine may include a red, swollen or sore thigh/arm where the injection was given. Some children may feel unwell, lose their appetite or develop a temperature.

Does the MMR vaccine contain gelatine?

There are two MMR vaccines used in the UK; one with, and one without, gelatine. If you would prefer for you, or your family, to have the vaccine that does not have gelatine talk to your practice nurse.

I’ve read that MMR is linked to autism, is that true?

There have been multiple studies undertaken to investigate the MMR vaccine and autism. There is no evidence of a link. The original study which suggested this has been discredited.

The MMR vaccine protects against:


A serious, preventable infection that spreads easily. There is no treatment or cure for measles, and it will make you feel very poorly. It can lead to complications like pneumonia, meningitis, blindness, and seizures.


A contagious viral infection that causes painful swelling in the face. There is no treatment or cure for mumps. It can make children and adults very poorly and lead to complications like viral meningitis and hearing loss.

Rubella (sometimes known as German measles)

A rare illness that causes a rash and uncomfortable cold-like symptoms. Rubella can be very serious in pregnancy, potentially causing blindness and deafness in unborn babies or even miscarriage.

Find out more about the MMR vaccine by visiting Let’s Get Vaccinated

Downloadable and printable leaflets in different languages

If printing professionally, these are designed to be printed at A5.

General Advice and Consent

Most of your questions should have been answered by this leaflet, but remember that this is only a starting point for discussion with the healthcare team.

Consent to treatment

Before any doctor, nurse or therapist examines or treats your child, they must seek your consent or permission. In order to make a decision, you need to have information from health professionals about the treatment or investigation which is being offered to your child. You should always ask them more questions if you do not understand or if you want more information.

The information you receive should be about your child’s condition, the alternatives available for your child, and whether it carries risks as well as the benefits. What is important is that your consent is genuine or valid. That means:

  • you must be able to give your consent
  • you must be given enough information to enable you to make a decision
  • you must be acting under your own free will and not under the strong influence of another person

Information about your child

We collect and use your child’s information to provide your child with care and treatment. As part of your child’s care, information about your child will be shared between members of a healthcare team, some of whom you may not meet. Your child’s information may also be used to help train staff, to check the quality of our care, to manage and plan the health service, and to help with research. Wherever possible we use anonymous data.

We may pass on relevant information to other health organisations that provide your child with care. All information is treated as strictly confidential and is not given to anyone who does not need it. If you have any concerns please ask your child’s doctor, or the person caring for your child.

Under the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018 we are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any information we hold about your child. For further information visit the following page: Confidential Information about You.

If you need information about your child’s (or a child you care for) health and wellbeing and their care and treatment in a different format, such as large print, braille or audio, due to disability, impairment or sensory loss, please advise a member of staff and this can be arranged.