Vaccines to Prevent Mumps: MMR and MMRV

Mumps is a contagious disease that is caused by a virus. Most of the people with mumps may have no symptoms, or symptoms may be very mild. People with mumps will have swelling of their salivary glands, which causes the puffy cheeks and a te

Updated: December 10, 2017

It is important that children, especially infants and young children, receive recommended immunizations on time. Vaccines also protect teenagers and adults to keep them healthy throughout their lives.
Mumps is a contagious disease that is caused by a virus. Most of the people with mumps may have no symptoms, or symptoms may be very mild. People with mumps will have swelling of their salivary glands, which causes the puffy cheeks and a tender, swollen jaw. Other symptoms may include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite.
Usually these symptoms appear about 16 to 18 days after getting infection from someone who was contagious.
Mumps virus spreads in the air from cough or sneeze of an infected person. A child also can get infected with mumps by coming in contact with an infected person or an object containing mumps virus, such as a toy.  One to two days before the symptoms of swollen glands appear, an infected person is most likely to spread mumps. Infected people can spread mumps for up to five days after symptoms appear.

Complications of Mumps:

Complications of mumps are more severe in teenagers and adults. Mumps can cause
  • inflammation of the brain known as encephalitis
  • inflammation of the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord known as meningitis
  • deafness
  • inflammation of the testicles called orchitis
  • inflammation of the ovaries called oophoritis
  • death in rare cases
Mumps can be prevented with vaccination. Anyone who is not immune from either previous mumps infection or from vaccination can get mumps. Mumps outbreaks can still occur in close-contact settings such as schools, colleges, and camps. However, high vaccination coverage helps to limit the size, duration, and spread of mumps outbreaks.

Types of Vaccines to Prevent Mumps:

There are two types of vaccine available to prevent mumps. These are:
  • MMR which contains measles, mumps, and rubella combination vaccines
  • MMRV which contains measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (chickenpox) combination vaccines

Who and When to get Vaccination?

Children should receive two doses of MMR vaccine. The first should be given 12 through 15 months where as the second dose should be given 4 through 6 years. MMRV vaccine is licensed for children of age 12 months to 12 years old and may be used in place of MMR vaccine if varicella vaccination is also required. If a child has a severe reaction to varicella vaccination, MMR can be used instead of MMRV. A health care provider can help decide which vaccine to use. MMR vaccine is very safe and effective. MMR vaccine is the best way to protect children against mumps and to prevent them from spreading the disease to others.
For adults, anyone born during or after 1957, who has never had mumps or has never been vaccinated, is at risk for mumps. They should get at least one dose of the MMR vaccine. Two doses are recommended for adults at increased risk, such as students in college, trade school, and training programs, international travelers, and health care professionals.
If you are already been immune to mumps, there is no harm in getting another dose of MMR vaccine.
Women who are planning to become pregnant should make sure they are protected against mumps before they get pregnant. If they need to get vaccinated for mumps, they should avoid pregnancy until one month after receiving the MMR vaccine.
Pregnant women who are not protected against mumps should wait until after they have given birth to the baby to get MMR vaccine.

Problems that could happen after any vaccine:

  • Sometimes people faint after vaccination. Sitting or lying down for about 15 minutes can help prevent fainting. If you feel dizzy, have vision changes or ringing in the ears, speak to your doctor.
  • In some cases severe pain in the shoulder and difficulty moving the arm where a shot was given could happen.
  • A severe allergic reaction would happen within a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination.
  • There is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a serious injury or death. The safety of vaccines is always being monitored. You can get all the information from Vaccine Safety site.
Signs of a severe allergic reaction can include hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, and weakness. These would start a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination. If you have severe allergic reaction, very high fever, or behavior changes , call 9-1-1 or find the nearest hospital.
The reaction should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) through the VAERS website or by calling 1-800-822-7967. VAERS is only for reporting reactions. They do not give medical advice.
If you are injured by a vaccine, you can file a claim in  National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) by calling 1-800-338-2382 or visiting the VICP website to get the compensation.

Learn more about Vaccine:

Your doctor can give you the vaccine package insert or suggest other sources of information.
You can call your local or state health department or can contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by:
        Calling 1-800-232-4636 (1-800-CDC-INFO)
        Visiting  CDC vaccines website


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