rubella virus vaccine live (Meruvax II)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

GENERIC NAME: rubella virus vaccine live



DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: The rubella vaccine is a live vaccine (Meruvax II) that is used to prevent rubella infection (German measles).

Rubella is a highly contagious disease that is caused by a virus. In children, the disease is usually mild with fever and a rash. However, rubella is especially dangerous during pregnancy as it can cause a miscarriage or serious birth defects.

Fortunately, rubella can be prevented with vaccination. Rubella vaccine is a live attenuated (weakened) form of the rubella viruses. The vaccine works by stimulating our immune system to produce antibodies (proteins which will fight and kill the virus) against the rubella virus.

The rubella live vaccine is no longer available in the US and has been replaced with the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR). The measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine is a single injection that contains all three vaccines, providing protection from all three infections.

PRESCRIBED FOR: The rubella vaccine is used to prevent rubella infection (German measles). It can be used in persons 12 months of age or older.


  • As with any other medicine, a vaccine may cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. It is extremely rare that the rubella vaccine will cause serious harm or death. Moreover, getting the rubella vaccine is much safer than getting rubella. Few people who get the vaccine do not have any serious problems with it.
  • This vaccine contains albumin, a protein that is derived from human blood. Therefore, there is an extremely small risk for transmission of viral diseases.
  • Although rare, some patients have developed bleeding problems caused by a drop in platelet count.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/14/2015

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