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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.

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

If you have not 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. Anyone who has not had 2 doses of the MMR vaccine is at higher risk of catching mumps.

This includes young children, teenagers and some adults, who may have been too old to be routinely vaccinated with the MMR vaccine when it was first introduced in the UK in 1988, or may have only received 1 dose of the MMR vaccine instead of the recommended 2.

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're planning to go to college or university. 

The mumps virus can spread quickly when lots of young people are living in close contact.

Cases of mumps

Outbreaks of diseases like mumps can occur when the number of people getting vaccinated falls.

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 are not vaccinated, or only partially vaccinated, do not get both doses of MMR vaccine.

Who should have the MMR vaccine?

Anyone who has not received the MMR vaccination as a child, or has only received 1 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: 30 May 2019
Next review due: 30 May 2022