Frequently Asked Questions about Measles 

Does an adult who has not been exposed to measles need to be vaccinated?

MMR vaccination in adults is only indicated if there is no evidence of immunity.  Evidence of immunity is defined by at least one of  the following:

  • Written documentation from your physician of adequate vaccination: 
  • One or more doses of a measles-containing vaccine administered on or after the first birthday for preschool-age children and adults not at high risk 
  • Two doses of measles-containing vaccine for school-age children and adults at high risk, including college students, healthcare personnel, and international travelers
  • Laboratory evidence of immunity 
  • Laboratory confirmation of measles
  • Birth before 1957

Students at post-high school educational institutions

Students at post-high school educational institutions who do not have evidence of immunity (as outlined above) need two doses of MMR vaccine, separated by at least 28 days.

Adults

Adults who do not have evidence of immunity (as outlined above) should get at least one dose of MMR vaccine.

What if I received measles vaccine prior to 1968?  

People who have documentation of receiving LIVE measles vaccine in the 1960s do not need to be revaccinated.

People who were vaccinated prior to 1968 (between 1963-1967), with inactivated (killed) measles vaccine should be revaccinated with at least one dose of live attenuated measles vaccine. This recommendation is intended to protect those who may have received killed measles vaccine, which was available in 1963-1967 and was not effective.

What if I was vaccinated between 1963 and 1967 and don’t know which vaccine I received, or whether I received a booster?

If you are concerned you can ask your provider and he/she can check an antibody titer (blood test) to determine if you are immune or if you might benefit from a booster. 

What if I was born before 1957?

Birth before 1957 provides presumptive evidence for measles, mumps, and rubella. Before vaccines were available, nearly everyone was infected with measles, mumps, and rubella viruses during childhood. The majority of people born before 1957 are likely to have been infected naturally and therefore are presumed to be protected against measles, mumps, and rubella. However, if you are concerned you can ask your provider and he/she can check an antibody titer (blood test) to determine if you are immune or if you might benefit from a booster. 


What if I already have a documented positive antibody titer against measles?

If there is already documentation of a positive titer (even dating back years ago), you are presumed to be immune.


Marjorie Newman, MD
Medical Director
Sansum Clinic

Reference : www.cdc.gov