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Rubella (German Measles) Vaccine

There are two vaccines available in BC that provide protection against rubella:

  • Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine
  • Measles, Mumps, Rubella and Varicella (MMRV) vaccine

Over 97% of individuals develop immunity after 1 dose of a rubella-containing vaccine. 

Rubella Vaccine Recommendations

Children as part of the routine immunization schedule: Children are routinely provided with 2 doses of a rubella-containing vaccine with the 1st dose (MMR) given at 12 months of age and the 2nd dose (MMRV) given at 4 to 6 years of age.

Unimmunized children and adolescents: Although one dose of a rubella-containing vaccine is needed for protection against rubella, two doses of the combination vaccine (MMR and/or MMRV) is needed for protection against the other diseases these vaccines protect against.

Susceptible adults born on or after January 1, 1957 (who are not health care workers): One dose of a rubella-containing vaccine (most often given as MMR) is needed for rubella protection. This dose should be given on or after 12 months of age. 

Adults born before January 1, 1957 (who are not health care workers): These people are generally assumed to have acquired immunity to rubella from natural infection.

Health care workers: Health care workers, regardless of date of birth, need one dose of a rubella-containing vaccine (most often given as MMR) for rubella protection. 

For more information regarding eligibility, guidelines for use and contraindications please refer to the BC Immunization Manual, Part 4 - Biological Products, MMR and MMRV Vaccines.

Determining Immunity to Rubella

Immunity to rubella is determined by either disease or vaccination history. Serological testing to establish immunity to rubella is not routinely recommended before or after vaccination. 

Adults born before January 1, 1957 are likely to have acquired immunity to rubella from natural infection and do not require vaccination for rubella protection. The exception to this are health care workers. There is no age above which immunity against rubella can be assumed for health care workers.

Individuals born on or after January 1, 1957 need documentation of one valid dose of a rubella-containing vaccine OR either laboratory evidence of rubella immunity or laboratory confirmed acute rubella infection.

For more information about the vaccine, who should get it, the benefits and typical side effects, read our HealthLinkBC files:

SOURCE: Rubella (German Measles) Vaccine ( )
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