Q. Can I get both the MMR vaccine booster shot and the flu vaccine together?

Answered by
Dr. S D Sinha
and medically reviewed by Dr. Preetha J
This is a premium question & answer published on Sep 22, 2020 and last reviewed on: Sep 28, 2020

Hi doctor,

I have a quick question concerning vaccinations.

I want to get an MMR vaccine booster shot (I got it when I was a young boy, and again around when I was in college about 30 years ago) and my annual flu vaccine later this week. Can I receive these two vaccines together on the same day? I have a history of Bell's palsy (now resolved) about 25 years, and I got it about three days after receiving a flu vaccine on time, but I am unsure if it was from the vaccine or because I had a mild ear infection then.

Anyway, I have never received the flu vaccine since then but would like to get one this year, to be safe. I also had another episode of Bell's palsy five years ago with Ramsay Hunt, but unrelated to anything, likely due to stress as per my Neurologist. Still, it was ultimately resolved after eight weeks with steroids.

Is it safe to get these two vaccines (MMR and flu vaccine) together? Also, there is talk of a possible Coronavirus vaccine coming out in the next two months. If I get the MMR and flu vaccine this week, will it prevent me from getting the Coronavirus vaccine later?

My last question is that my wife, who has a history of breast cancer eight years ago (treated and is now fine) is on Tamoxifen. Will it be safe to be around her if I take the MMR vaccine. Finally, is she able to get the MMRI vaccine, too, if needed? My family doctor told me it is safe to get the MMR and flu vaccine on the same day, but I would like another (expert) opinion. Thank you.



Thanks for your query.

I wanted to know whether you had taken MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine in childhood, and whether you had measles earlier. If not, then it is advisable. Even if you had the measles vaccine in childhood, without having measles, then also it is advisable.

Also, whether you are in college, trade centers, traveling internationally where measles or mumps is endemic or whether you are a healthcare practitioner. If anyone of this is right, then it is advisable.

MMR is contraindicated if you have any existing HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection or any condition that makes you immunocompromised, such as dialysis, immunosuppressants, and autoimmune diseases like SLE (systemic lupus erythematosus), rheumatoid arthritis, etc. Suppose if you are taking steroids or having moderate to severe illnesses, I hope you do not have these conditions; in such a case, it is advisable, otherwise not.

The rubella part in MMR is primarily for women who are likely to get pregnant. If such women get rubella disease, it could lead to congenital disorders or congenital disabilities in newborns.

Hence for me to confirm on you further, I need to know the above information. For your wife, since she had a history of breast cancer and currently on hormone-related drugs like Tamoxifen, for maintenance therapy, there is every likelihood for immunocompromised status; hence she is at risk if she takes the MMR vaccination. You must consult her Oncologist or cancer specialist for an opinion regarding the vaccination. Tell me whether she had taken MMR vaccination in childhood and whether she is a healthcare professional, traveling to endemic areas, etc., are also equally essential to decide further.

Whether you could take the flu vaccine or MMR together, there is no impede in that effect. However, I would advise you to take the two separately, considering that the flu vaccine is a multi-virus vaccine, considering the current pandemic. There is a likelihood of vaccine-related fever post-vaccination. Just wait for the World Health Organization (WHO) notification for this year's flu vaccine, maybe then you could take the flu vaccine.

I hope your doubts are clarified. For confirmations from my side, request you to share your health information, as stated in the note above.

Thank you, doctor, for your reply.

I am a 55-year-old male who works in a healthcare setting in a large city. I do not see patients, but I am around many nurses and staff sometimes. Even when I was young, I had never had the measles, but I did have the mumps as a young boy. I received the MMR when I was a child and, I think, when I was in college, about 35 years ago. Should I get the MMR again (booster)? And if so, can I get it while living in the same household with my wife, who had cancer eight years ago. I do not think she will get MMR (she works in an office). I read somewhere that you should not get a live vaccine if you live in some house as someone with a cancer history. Is that true? Maybe I did not understand well. I do not have any other medical conditions (no cancer, no HIV, not immunocompromised, and not diabetic). I only had the two cases of Bell's palsy, as I mentioned to you. In your opinion, is it still safe to get the annual flu vaccine? Our state agency is suggesting everyone get the flu vaccine since it is free. My family doctor says yes, but I would also like your expert opinion. Thank you.



Welcome to icliniq.com.

Thanks for the revert.

First, we will see the positive part. Getting the MMR and influenza vaccine together is not contraindicated. You already had the MMR vaccine as a child and as an adult. Having another MMR as a booster is not necessary, but it is not contraindicated. However, in the background of a history of Bell's palsy, it may have some risk. But on the other hand, since you are already in a hospital setup, you are at risk if you do not take it and get exposed.

Your wife has had cancer and is still taking cancer treatment though she may not have active cancer. She should not get the MMR vaccine but could get an influenza vaccine shot for this season.

In the background of your wife's cancer,

- You can also take the flu vaccine, along with her.

- You can also take a booster dose of MMR, although it may not be necessary considering your history, as mentioned above.

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