Mumps Vaccination

Make Sure You’re Up To Date

Mumps can be prevented with MMR vaccine. This protects against three diseases: measles, mumps, and rubella. CDC recommends that children get two doses of MMR vaccine:

  • the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and
  • the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age.

Teens and adults should also be up to date on MMR vaccinations. Information on locating vaccine records.

MMR vaccine is safe and effective. A person with two doses of MMR vaccine has about an 88% reduction in risk for mumps; a person with one dose has a 78% reduction in risk for mumps.

Children may also get MMRV vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (chickenpox). This vaccine is only licensed for use in children who are 12 months through 12 years of age.

Mumps Outbreaks Still Occur

After the U.S. mumps vaccination program started in 1967, there has been a more than 99% decrease in mumps cases in the United States. However, mumps outbreaks still occur, particularly in settings where people have close, prolonged contact, such as universities and close-knit communities. Examples of this include people who

  • are strongly connected by social, cultural, or family ties
  • participate in communal activities
  • share a common living space

During these outbreaks, people who previously had one or two doses of MMR vaccine can get mumps too. Experts aren’t sure why vaccinated people still get mumps; it could be that their immune system didn’t respond as well as it should have to the vaccine. Or their immune system’s ability to fight the infection decreased over time. Disease symptoms are milder and complications are less frequent in vaccinated people. Also, high vaccination coverage helps to limit the size, duration, and spread of mumps outbreaks. So it’s still very important to be up to date on MMR vaccine.

During a mumps outbreak, public health authorities might recommend an additional dose of MMR vaccine for people who belong to groups at increased risk for getting mumps. These groups are usually those who are likely to have close contact, such as sharing sport equipment or drinks, kissing, or living in close quarters, with a person who has mumps. Your local public health authorities or institution will notify you if you are at increased risk and should receive this dose. If you already have two doses of MMR, it is not necessary to seek out vaccination unless the authorities tell you that you are part of this group.

Mumps is a contagious disease that is caused by a virus. It typically starts with fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite. Then, most people will have swelling of their salivary glands. This is what causes the puffy cheeks and a tender, swollen jaw.