Often vaccines against measles, mumps and rubella are given together (MMR vaccine) at 18 months instead of measles vaccine alone. Although more expensive than measles vaccine, MMR offers important protection against meningitis, which may complicate mumps, and serious congenital abnormalities in the fetus, which may complicate maternal rubella during pregnancy.
Although not yet part of the EPI policy, children who received MMR at 18 months should be given a second dose of MMR when they start school (however the parents will have to pay). MMR vaccine needs to be kept cold during storage in the same way as measles vaccine. The dose and method of administration is the same as measles vaccine.
Children who are immunised twice with MMR will have lifelong immunity against rubella and, thereby, avoid the risk of congenital rubella in their infants. Likewise, MMR gives protection against mumps, which avoids the risk of orchitis and resultant sterility in boys in later life.