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Measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox (varicella) vaccine (MMR-Var)


On September 1, 2020, changes were made to the Québec Immunization Program. These changes are based on a recommendation made by the Comité sur l’immunisation du Québec and concern vaccines administered at school. To find out more, go to the Changes made to the school-based vaccination program section.


Vaccination is the best protection against these diseases and their complications:

Protection against these diseases lasts throughout life.

Since June 1, 2019, Québec’s immunization schedule has provided for the administration of 2 doses of the measles-mumps-rubella and chickenpox vaccine at 12 months and 18 months of age.

Women receiving the vaccine must avoid becoming pregnant in the month after the vaccination.


Some symptoms may be caused by the vaccine, e.g. redness at the injection site.

Other problems may occur by chance and are not related to the vaccine, e.g. cold, gastro, headache.

MMR-Var vaccine is safe. Most reactions are harmless and do not last long.

The nature and frequency of possible reactions to vaccine
FrequencyPossible reactions to the vaccine

In most cases
(more than 50% of people

  • Slight or moderate fever between the 5th and 12th day after vaccination

Very often
(less than 50% of people)

  • Pain and redness at the infection site
  • High fever between the 5th and 12th day after vaccination
  • Fever, irritability, drowsiness (sleepiness), diarrhea, loss of appetite
  • Joint pain in adults

(less than 10% of people)

  • Swelling at the injection site
  • Non contagious skin rash between the 5th and 12th day after vaccination
  • Blisters similar to those of chicken pox (less than 10 blisters) at the injection site or elsewhere on the body; these blisters are not very contagious and clear up quickly
  • Conjunctivitis (red eyes)
  • Joint pain in children

(less than 1% of people)

  • Shivering
  • Swollen lymph nodes and glands near the jaw

(less than 1 person in 1,000)

  • Convulsions between the 5th and 12th day after vaccination

Very rarely
(less than 1 person in 10,000)

  • Temporary drop in the number of blood cells that help clotting

Less than 1 person in 1 million

  • Neurological problems

What to do after vaccination

Tips to follow immediately following vaccination

Wait 15 minutes before leaving premises where vaccine is received. If an allergic reaction occurs, the symptoms will appear a few minutes after the vaccination.

If you feel side effects, immediately inform the person giving the vaccine. That person will be able to treat you immediately.

Tips to follow at home

If you experience redness, pain or swelling at the injection site, apply a cold, damp compress on it.

Use medication for fever or discomfort if needed.

Do not give medication containing aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) to people under age 18 for 6 weeks following their vaccination.

Cover the blisters. If this is not possible, contacts with premature newborns and people with weakened immune system should be avoided as long as these blisters are present.

When to seek medical help

See a doctor if one of the following applies to you:

  • You experience serious and unusual symptoms
  • Your symptoms get worse instead of improving
  • Your symptoms last over 48 hours

Last update: May 30, 2019


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