Mumps Vaccination

Key points

  • Two doses of the MMR vaccine are recommended by doctors as the best way to protect against measles, mumps, and rubella.
  • Children may get two doses of MMRV vaccine instead.
  • MMR & MMRV vaccines usually protect people for life against measles and rubella; but immunity against mumps may decrease over time.
Young girl gets a band-aid over her injection site at the doctor’s office.


The best way to protect against mumps is to get the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Children may get the measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (MMRV) vaccine instead, which protects against chickenpox too.

Most people who are vaccinated with MMR & MMRV will be protected for life. Vaccines and high rates of vaccination have made these diseases much less common in the United States.

Available vaccines

There are two vaccines that protect against measles, mumps, and rubella. Both MMR and MMRV vaccines may be given at the same time as other vaccines.


  • Two MMR vaccines are available for use in the United States M-M-R II and PRIORIX.
  • M-M-R II and PRIORIX are fully interchangeable for all indications for which MMR vaccination is recommended.


  • Contains a combination of measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (chickenpox) vaccines.
  • This vaccine is only licensed for use in children who are 12 months through 12 years of age.


Both MMR and MMRV vaccines may be given at the same time as other vaccines. Your healthcare provider can give you more information about each and which to get.


Children need 2 doses of MMR vaccines:

12–15 months old
  • 1st dose
4–6 years old
  • 2nd dose

Older children, adolescents, & adults—Also need 1 or 2 doses of MMR vaccine if they don't have evidence of immunity.A Doses should be separated at least 28 days apart.

Anyone traveling internationally—Should be fully vaccinated before traveling. Infants 6–11 months old should get 1 dose of the MMR vaccine before travel. Then they should get 2 more doses after their first birthday.

People at risk during outbreak—An additional dose of MMR may be needed because of a mumps outbreak. Public health authorities will notify you if you are at increased risk and should receive this extra dose. If you already have 2 doses of MMR, it's not necessary to seek out vaccination; unless the authorities tell you that you are part of this group.


Children 12 months through 12 years of age may be given 2 doses of MMRV vaccine. Each dose is usually given at:

12–15 months old
  • 1st dose
4–6 years old
  • 2nd dose (can also be given 3 months after 1st dose)

Why getting vaccinated is important

The MMR vaccine protects your child from measles, mumps, and rubella, potentially serious diseases caused by viruses. Almost everyone who has not had the MMR vaccine will get sick if they are exposed to those viruses. The vaccine keeps your child from missing school or childcare; and you from missing work to care for your sick child. Vaccination also limits the size, duration, and spread of outbreaks.

For mumps: MMR vaccine protects your child from getting a fever and swollen glands under the ears or jaw from mumps.

For measles: MMR vaccine protects your child from getting an uncomfortable rash and high fever from measles.

For rubella: MMR vaccine prevents your child from getting a rash and fever from rubella. The vaccine also prevents your child from spreading rubella to a pregnant person; whose unborn baby could develop serious birth defects or die if the mother gets rubella.

Who should and shouldn't get the vaccine

MMR vaccination is important for children as well as adults who do not have evidence of immunity.A These include:

  • Students at post-high school educational institutions
  • Healthcare personnel
  • International travelers
  • People of childbearing age before they get pregnant
  • Groups at increased risk for mumps because of a mumps outbreak

Who shouldn't get vaccinated

Some people should not get the MMR vaccine, or they should wait. People should check with their healthcare provider about whether they should get vaccine if they:

  • Has had an allergic reaction after a previous dose of MMR or MMRV vaccine, or has any severe, life-threatening allergies.
  • Are or may be pregnant. Wait to get MMR vaccine until after you are no longer pregnant. Avoid getting pregnant for at least 1 month after getting MMR vaccine.
  • Have a weakened immune system due to disease or medical treatments; or have a family member with a history of immune system problems.
  • Have ever had a condition that makes them bruise or bleed easily.
  • Have recently had a blood transfusion or received other blood products. You might be advised to postpone MMR vaccination for 3 months or more.
  • Have tuberculosis.
  • Have gotten any other vaccines in the past 4 weeks.
  • Are feeling unwell or severely ill. Your doctor can advise you.

Additionally, people should wait to get the MMRV vaccine and tell their provider if they:

  • Have a history of seizures, or has a parent, brother, or sister with a history of seizures.
  • Are taking or plans to take salicylates (such as aspirin).

The vaccine is safe and effective

MMR vaccine is very safe and is effective at preventing measles, mumps, and rubella. Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects. These are usually mild and go away on their own.

There is no link between the MMR vaccine and autism. Scientists in the United States and other countries have carefully studied the MMR vaccine. None has found a link between autism and the MMR vaccine.

It is safe for breastfeeding women to receive MMR vaccination. Breastfeeding does not interfere with the response to MMR vaccine; and the baby will not be affected by the vaccine through breast milk.

One dose of MMR vaccine is:
  • 93% effective against measles
  • 78% effective against mumps
  • 97% effective against rubella
Two doses of MMR vaccine are:
  • 97% effective against measles
  • 88% effective against mumps

While MMR provides effective protection against mumps for most people, immunity against mumps may decrease over time for some people. They may no longer be protected against mumps later in life.

Some vaccinated people may still get measles, mumps, or rubella if they are exposed to the viruses. It could be that their immune system didn’t respond as well as they should have to the vaccine; their immune system’s ability to fight the infection decreased over time; or they have prolonged, close contact with someone who has a virus. However, disease symptoms are generally milder in vaccinated people. They are also less likely to spread the disease to other people.

Possible side effects

Most people don't have any side effects from the vaccine. The side effects that do occur are usually mild, and may include:

  • Soreness, redness, or swelling where the vaccine was given
  • Fever
  • Mild rash
  • Temporary pain and stiffness in the joints

More serious side effects are rare. These may include high fever that could cause a seizure.

Finding and paying for the vaccine

Your or your child’s doctor’s office is usually the best place to receive recommended vaccines. Vaccines may also be available at pharmacies, workplaces, community health clinics, health departments, or schools, or religious centers.

Vaccine costs

There are a few ways to cover the cost of vaccines:

Health insurance

Most health insurance plans cover the cost of vaccines. However, you may want to check with your insurance provider before going to a healthcare provider. Check for cost information and for a list of in-network vaccine providers.

Vaccines for Children Program

Your children may be able to get no-cost vaccines through the Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program. This program helps families of eligible children who may not be able to afford or have access to vaccines.

Common questions

If you don't have immunityA against these diseases and become exposed to them, talk with your doctor about getting MMR vaccine. It is not harmful to get MMR vaccine after being exposed to measles, mumps, or rubella. Doing so may possibly prevent later disease.

If you get MMR vaccine within 72 hours of initially being exposed to measles, you may get some protection; or have milder illness. In other cases, you may be given a medicine called immunoglobulin (IG) within 6 days of being exposed to measles. This provides some protection against the disease or illness is milder.

Unlike with measles, MMR has not been shown to be effective at preventing mumps or rubella in people already infected.

All 50 states and DC have state laws that require children entering childcare or students starting schools to have certain vaccinations. There is no federal law that requires this. The ACIP recommends that all states require these groups to be up to date on MMR vaccine.

Students in school settings have a higher likelihood of spreading disease because they are constantly in close contact with each other. MMR vaccine prevents outbreaks in these setting, which means:

  • Less illness and less school time missed by students.
  • Less chance of exposing people who cannot get vaccinated.
  1. Acceptable evidence of immunity against measles, mumps and rubella includes at least one of the following: 1) Written documentation of adequate vaccination, 2) Laboratory evidence of immunity, 3) Laboratory confirmation of disease, or 4) Birth before 1957. Before vaccines were available, nearly everyone was infected with these viruses during childhood. Most born before 1957 are likely to have been infected naturally and therefore are presumed to be protected against measles, mumps, and rubella. Healthcare personnel born before 1957 without laboratory evidence of immunity or disease should consider getting 2 doses of MMR vaccine.