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Should I get a measles booster?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you should consider a measles shot if you don't know you're immune AND you're in any of these groups:
- health care workers
- adults planning to travel out of the U.S. soon
- college students
- anyone living in a community now having a measles outbreak
But there’s no downside to getting the shot even if you’ve had it before. The measles vaccine is combined with the mumps and rubella vaccines in one shot (the MMR). You can get the MMR from your doctor or at most pharmacies. There is currently no shortage of the measles vaccine.
How do I know if I'm immune to measles?
You're considered immune to measles if:
- You have medical records showing you had two doses of the measles vaccine.
- You've had a blood test showing you have enough measles antibodies to be protected. (You can ask your doctor for this inexpensive test)
The vast majority of adults in the U.S. are immune to measles and don't need a booster.
Is it safe to get the MMR vaccine during pregnancy?
The MMR is not recommended for pregnant women. Why? Can the MMR vaccine cause birth defects? Theoretically that’s the concern. It’s why the CDC doesn’t recommend the MMR or any vaccine made with live (weakened) virus for pregnant women. However, it’s worth noting that a large number of studies that followed pregnant women who did get the MMR showed no increased risk. Find out which vaccines can be given during pregnancy.
Is measles dangerous for pregnant women?
Pregnant women are at high risk for severe illness and complications if they catch measles. (In fact, all adults older than 20 are considered at high risk.)
Measles does not appear to cause birth defects. But it could cause you to have a premature delivery or a low birth weight baby.
Is measles the same as rubella?
Measles (also known as rubeola) is not the same as rubella (also known as German measles). If you get infected with rubella virus in pregnancy, if could cause birth defects.
Can I get the measles vaccine if I'm trying to get pregnant?
If you're thinking of getting pregnant and not sure you're immune to measles, get the shot at least one month before you start trying.
Can I get the measles shot if I'm breastfeeding?
Yes. The measles vaccine is safe for breastfeeding women and your baby will not be affected by it.