There are two vaccines available in BC that provide protection against mumps:
- Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine
- Measles, Mumps, Rubella and Varicella (MMRV) vaccine
Mumps vaccine effectiveness has been estimated at 62% to 91% for one dose and 76% to 95% for two doses. Immunized individuals are far less likely to get mumps, and even if they develop mumps infection, are less likely to experience complications such as orchitis and meningitis.
Children as part of the routine immunization schedule: Children are routinely provided with 2 doses of a mumps-containing vaccine with the 1st dose (MMR) given at 12 months and the 2nd dose (MMRV) given at 4 to 6 years of age.
Unimmunized children and adolescents: Two doses of a mumps-containing vaccine are needed. Depending on the need for varicella protection, MMRV vaccine can be used for healthy children 4 to 12 years of age; otherwise, MMR is the appropriate vaccine.
Susceptible adults born on or after January 1, 1970: One dose of a mumps vaccine (given as MMR) is needed for mumps protection. However, it is recommended that some adults born in 1970 or later receive 2 doses of mumps vaccine, including:
- Health care workers (those born between January 1, 1957 and December 31, 1969 require 1 dose of mumps vaccine)
- Travellers to outside of North America
- Post-secondary students
Adults who are not health care workers, and are born before January 1, 1970: These people are generally assumed to have acquired immunity to mumps from natural infection. However, there may be susceptible adults in this age group. Those who self-identify without a history of mumps vaccine or disease may be considered susceptible and should be offered 1 dose of the MMR vaccine.
For more information regarding eligibility, guidelines for use and contraindications please refer to Section VII of the BC Immunization Manual.
In the event of a mumps outbreak, the local Medical Health Officer for that geographic region may make additional vaccine recommendations such as a dose of MMR vaccine for adults in the outbreak-affected age group.
Immunity to mumps is determined by either disease or vaccination history. Serological testing to establish immunity to mumps prior to vaccination is not recommended because the titre of IgG required for mumps immunity is not known.
Adults born before January 1, 1970 are likely to have acquired immunity to mumps from natural infection and therefore do not require the MMR vaccine. However, there may be a very small number of susceptible individuals born before 1970. These individuals are eligible for 1 dose of the MMR vaccine.
Individuals born on or after January 1,1970 need prior clinical diagnosis of mumps and laboratory confirmation OR documentation of the recommended number of doses with the appropriate mumps-containing vaccine.
For more information about the vaccine, who should get it, the benefits and typical side effects, read our HealthLinkBC files: