Preventing rubella

Vaccination is the best protection against rubella. If you haven’t been vaccinated, or are unsure whether you have been, there are a number of things you can do to protect yourself and your family. Whatever your situation, it is best to check with your GP.

Ideally all children should receive two doses of the mumps, measles and rubella (MMR) vaccine to reduce the chances of catching rubella. Previously only school girls and women were immunised in the UK. As a result, most pregnant women caught rubella from boys and young men who hadn’t had the vaccinations.

This is why all children are offered the MMR vaccination at 13 months-old and at around three years and four months. The more children who are immunised the more likely it is that the disease will disappear in this country.

From 1998, a significant number of children have not been protected against measles, mumps and rubella. Some of them are now approaching adulthood, and young women who may now be starting to think about planning a family have missed out on their childhood immunisations.

It is never too late to immunise. Two doses of MMR, one month apart and with the second one at least a month before pregnancy, will offer excellent protection against the disease. It is recommended that a woman avoids becoming pregnant for one month after receiving the MMR vaccine.

First published: Monday 21 May 2012
Updated: Monday 29 February 2016