What is rubella virus vaccine? What is it used for?

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.

What brand names are available for rubella virus vaccine?

Meruvax II

Is rubella virus vaccine available as a generic drug?

No, the rubella vaccine is no longer available in the US. The measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine is the vaccine of choice to protect patients against any of these infections.

Do I need a prescription for rubella virus vaccine?


What are the side effects of rubella virus vaccine?

What is the dosage for rubella virus vaccine?

The rubella vaccine is recommended for patients 12 months of age or older. Patients first vaccinated with the rubella vaccine at 12 months of age or older should be revaccinated with the measles, mumps, and rubella live vaccine (MMR II) prior to elementary school.


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Which drugs or supplements interact with rubella virus vaccine?

  • Anyone who has ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to gelatin should not get the rubella vaccine.
  • Anyone who has ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to the antibiotic neomycin should not get the rubella vaccine because neomycin is used in the production process.
  • Patients with a weak immune system should not get the rubella vaccine. This includes AIDS patients, patients receiving medicines that suppress the immune system, and people with cancer.
  • The rubella vaccine may interact with the tuberculin (TB) test. Therefore, if a TB skin test is to be done, it should be administered either before or at the same time as the vaccine.

Is rubella virus vaccine safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?

It is not known whether the rubella virus can cause birth defects. It should be avoided during pregnancy.

The rubella vaccine is excreted into human milk and should be used cautiously in nursing mothers.

What else should I know about rubella virus vaccine?

What preparations of rubella virus vaccine are available?

Solution for administration by injection into the fatty layer of the tissue under the skin (subcutaneously) of the upper arm.

How should I keep rubella virus vaccine stored?

The rubella vaccine should be stored in the refrigerator, between 2 C and 8 C (36 and 46 F).


Rubella virus vaccine live (Meruvax II) is a live vaccine prescribed to prevent German measles (rubella). Side effects, drug interactions, dosing, storage, and pregnancy and breastfeeding information should be reviewed prior to administering this medication.

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Medically Reviewed on 8/5/2019
Medically reviewed by John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP; Board Certified Emergency Medicine


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