The internationally licensed rubella vaccines, based on the live attenuated RA 27/3 strain of the rubella virus and propagated in human diploid cells, have proved safe and efficacious, achieving 95–100% protection, possibly lifelong, after just one dose. Following well-designed and well-implemented programmes using such vaccines, rubella and CRS have almost disappeared from many countries. Other attenuated vaccine strains are available in China and Japan.
Rubella vaccine is commercially available in a monovalent form, in a bivalent combination with measles vaccine, as the trivalent measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine and in a few countries in a quadrivalent measles/mumps/rubella/varicella (MMRV) combination. Rubella-containing vaccines are usually administrated at 12–15 months of age but may be offered to children as young as 9 months.
In principle, rubella vaccination of pregnant women should be avoided, and pregnancy should be avoided within 1 month of receiving the vaccine due to the theoretical, but never demonstrated, risk of vaccine-induced CRS.