Allergic reactions to the MMR and MMRV vaccines

The measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and the measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox (MMRV) vaccine are made with chick embryo cells. But the vaccines have no or very little egg protein and usually do not cause an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to eggs.1 The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people with allergies to eggs be vaccinated. But they suggest caution if a person has had a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) or other serious reaction right after eating egg products or getting a previous immunization.

Talk with your doctor before your child gets the MMR or MMRV vaccine if:

  • Your child is allergic to gelatin. The MMR and MMRV vaccines contain gelatin and in rare cases can cause an allergic reaction.
  • Your child has ever had a severe (anaphylactic) allergic reaction to the antibiotic neomycin.2 The MMR and MMRV vaccines contain very small amounts of this drug.
  • Your child has had a severe reaction to the first dose of the MMR or MMRV vaccine.

Studies show that the chance of having any severe allergic reaction from the MMR vaccine is very low.1


  1. Patja A, et al. (2001). Allergic reactions to measles-mumps-rubella vaccination. Pediatrics, 107(2): e27.
  2. National Immunization Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2003). Guide to contraindications to vaccinations. Available online:

Last Updated: March 31, 2009

Author: Debby Golonka, MPH

Medical Review: Michael J. Sexton, MD - Pediatrics & Stanford T. Shulman, MD - Pediatrics

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