Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about the Measles Vaccine

May 8, 2019

If you're a healthcare provider, click here for guidance.


What is the best way to prevent measles?

Measles is highly contagious.  Getting the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine is the best way to prevent measles.


How well does the MMR vaccine work?

Two doses of MMR vaccine are about 97% effective at preventing measles; one dose is 93% effective.


Who should be immunized?

  • Adults who do not have evidence of receiving 2 doses of MMR vaccine in the past
  • Individuals preparing for international travel.
  • Adults previously vaccinated between 1963-1967 (typically, adults now in their fifties) when the measles vaccine administered may have been ineffective.
  • Adults previously vaccinated between 1963-1991 who may have received only a single dose of MMR vaccine.
  • Anyone wanting to be vaccinated who is unsure of their vaccination status.
  • Children and adolescents under the age of 18 years should have received MMR vaccine from their pediatrician or primary care provider.  If not, parents can contact their pediatrician or primary care provider to get their children vaccinated.  The Department of Public Health and Wellness can also provide the MMR vaccine to children.  Call 502.574-5380 to schedule an appointment.


What if I don’t know if I was immunized – I don’t have those records?

Even if you were immunized previously, it is safe to get another MMR vaccine.


Where can I get the measles (MMR) vaccine and how much does it cost?

Your insurance MAY cover the cost of the vaccine. You can contact your insurance company to find out if this vaccine is covered by calling the benefits number on your insurance card to find out. This includes Medicare. Please call to verify.

  • Your primary care provider may offer the MMR vaccine.
  • Local pharmacies such as Walgreens, RiteAid, CVS, Kroger Pharmacies, Kroger Little Clinics, WalMart Pharmacies, Meijer Pharmacies and Target Pharmacies should have the vaccine.  Call before you go to make sure they have the vaccine on hand and to find out how much it will cost.
  • The University of Louisville Vaccine & International Travel Clinic, 501 E. Broadway, Suite 140C. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8a. – 4:30p. No appointment needed. No insurance is accepted. Cost for the vaccine is $40.T
  • he Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness, Monday through Friday, 8a – 5p. Call 502.574-5380 to make an appointment. Cost is $80.


Who should not get the MMR vaccine:

Please speak to your primary healthcare provider before getting the MMR vaccine if any of the following conditions apply to you:

  • If you are pregnant, or think you might become pregnant.
  • Have any severe or life-threatening allergies to the MMR vaccine, or any part of this vaccine.
  • Have a weakened immune system due to HIV/AIDS, cancer, or medical treatments (such as radiation, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or steroids).
  • Have ever had a condition that makes you bruise or bleed easily.
  • Have recently had a blood transfusion or received other blood products.
  • Have a parent, brother, or sister with a history of immune system problems.
  • Have tuberculosis.
  • Are not feeling well.
  • Have received a live virus vaccine in that past 4 weeks (such as varicella or shingles).


Where can healthcare providers find more guidance with regard to measles and the vaccine?

Guidance to healthcare providers can be found HERE.

Measles Reemerging in the US: Physicians urged to recommend immunization to partnes and to consider measles diagnosis, article by Dr. Lori Caloia, medical director, Louisville Metro Dept. of Public Health & Wellness, for Louisville Medicine magazine, a publication of the Greater Louisville Medical Society.