Updated March 2017

Vaccine Benefits

Measles, mumps, rubella and varicella vaccine (MMRV) is usually given to children between 4 and 6 years of age as a booster dose. Two doses of vaccine provide the best protection.

Children, ages 4 to 12 years old, who have not yet been vaccinated, or do not have documentation of vaccination can also get this publicly funded vaccine.

Trade names: Priorix-Tetra®, ProQuad®

School Requirement

Under the Immunization of School Pupils Act, it is the parent’s responsibility to update their child’s immunization record with Toronto Public Health or provide a valid exemption form. Students without updated immunization may be suspended from school.

Vaccine Side Effects and Risks

MMRV vaccines are safe, effective and well tolerated. Common side effects include redness, swelling and pain where the needle was given, fever, temporary swelling of the glands in the neck, joint pain or muscle aches. Reactions are usually mild and go away in a few days.

Rarely, a rash that looks like chickenpox or measles can occur. In rare cases, some children may get high fever or an allergic reaction can cause trouble breathing, rash, swelling in the throat and face. It is treated immediately and does not last long.
Salicylates (such as aspirin) should not be given to children after MMRV vaccination for at least 6 weeks. Report any severe reactions to your health care provider.

Children Who Should Not Get the Vaccine

The vaccine is not recommended if your child has:

  • a weakened immune system
  • active tuberculosis
  • a bleeding disorder
  • a neurological disorder or seizures
  • a serious allergic reaction to this vaccine or a similar vaccine in the past
  • is taking long-term salicylate therapy
  • is allergic to neomycin or gelatin
Delay vaccination if your child has:
  • received a live vaccine in the past 28 days (e.g. MMR, chickenpox)
  • received a blood product in the past 12 months
  • an illness more serious than a cold

Note, this vaccine is not recommended for women who are pregnant, think they may be pregnant or are trying to become pregnant.

Measles is very contagious. The red rash starts on the face and spread to the rest of the body. Other symptoms include fever, rash, cough, red eyes and a runny nose. It can also cause ear infections, pneumonia, infection of the brain and death.

Measles continues to spread in Canada and North America due to travel.

Mumps causes fever, headache and swelling in the salivary glands of the cheeks and jaw. It can cause infection in the lining of the brain; painful swelling of the testicles or the ovaries, deafness, or miscarriage. Outbreaks have occurred on in schools, universities and among sports teams.

Rubella, also called German measles can cause fever, sore throat and a rash on the face and neck. Children may have fewer or no symptoms. Infection is most dangerous in women during early pregnancy when it can infect the developing baby.

Varicella, also called chickenpox is very contagious. It often starts with fever, cough, sore throat and general aches and pains. Itchy red rashes appear and can spread to almost anywhere on the body. The rashes will gradually form into blisters and then scab over. In rare cases, chickenpox can lead to pneumonia, blood and skin infections or swelling to the brain.

More information

  • Talk to your healthcare provider
  • Call our Immunization Line at 416-392-1250

French Version

For a copy of this information in French (Français), email us at immunization@toronto.ca.