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Vaccination against mumps

Mumps outbreaks are common, especially in teenagers and young people. The disease can be very serious. Complications can include swelling of the ovaries and testicles, infertility, meningitis and deafness.

The best protection against mumps is the MMR vaccine. The mumps vaccine is one of the components of the MMR vaccine, which protects against mumps, measles and rubella.

Two doses of the MMR vaccine are offered as part of the routine childhood immunisation schedule.

If you haven't had any or both doses of the MMR vaccine, whatever age you are, make an appointment with your GP surgery to have the vaccine.

Who's at risk of catching mumps?

The mumps virus can spread very quickly and anyone who has not had two doses of MMR vaccine is at higher risk of catching mumps.

This includes young children, teenagers and some adults as they may have been too old to be routinely vaccinated with the MMR vaccine  when it was first introduced in the UK in 1988, or they may only have received one dose of MMR vaccine instead of the recommended two.

Most cases of mumps are in older teenagers and young adults so it's especially important that people in this age group are fully vaccinated, especially if they are planning to go to college or university. Mumps virus can spread quickly when lots of young people are living in close contact. 

Cases of mumps

During 2015, there were 713 cases of mumps in England. But in the last decade there have been regular mumps outbreaks. The largest one was in 2005 when there were more than 43,000 cases.

Mumps cases may rise again in the next few years if people who aren't vaccinated, or only partially vaccinated don't get both doses of MMR vaccine.

Who should have the MMR vaccine?

Anyone who hasn't received MMR vaccination as a child, or has only received one dose, should go to their GP or college doctor and get the vaccination straight away.

Read more about mumps and the MMR vaccine.

Page last reviewed: 01/06/2016

Next review due: 01/06/2018


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