Adverse Events Following Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccine in Adults Reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), 2003-2013

Clin Infect Dis. 2015 May 15;60(10):e58-65. doi: 10.1093/cid/civ061. Epub 2015 Jan 30.


Background: Limited data exist on the safety of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine in adults. We reviewed reports of adverse events (AEs) to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) to assess safety in this previously understudied group.

Methods: VAERS is the national spontaneous vaccine safety surveillance system coadministered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Food and Drug Administration. We searched the VAERS database for US reports of adults aged ≥19 years who received the MMR vaccine from 1 January 2003 to 31 July 2013. We clinically reviewed reports and available medical records for serious AEs, pregnancy reports, and reports for selected prespecified outcomes.

Results: During this period, VAERS received 3175 US reports after MMR vaccine in adults. Of these, 168 (5%) were classified as serious, including 7 reports of death. Females accounted for 77% of reports. The most common signs and symptoms for all reports were pyrexia (19%), rash (17%), pain (13%), and arthralgia (13%). We did not detect any new safety findings in empirical Bayesian data mining. We identified 131 reports of MMR vaccine administered to a pregnant woman; the majority of these vaccinations were in the first trimester and in 83 (62%), no AE was reported.

Conclusions: In our review of VAERS data, we did not detect any new or unexpected safety concerns for MMR vaccination in adults. We identified reports of pregnant women exposed to MMR, which is a group in whom the vaccine is contraindicated, suggesting the need for continued provider education on vaccine recommendations and screening.

Keywords: MMR vaccine; Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS); measles; mumps; rubella.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arthralgia / chemically induced
  • Arthralgia / epidemiology
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S.
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / epidemiology*
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / pathology*
  • Exanthema / chemically induced
  • Exanthema / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Fever / chemically induced
  • Fever / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine / administration & dosage
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine / adverse effects*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / chemically induced
  • Pain / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine