The first dose of mumps vaccine should be given at 12 to 15 months of age.
The second dose can be given anytime, as long as the child is at least 12 months old and it has been at least a month since the first dose. However, the second mumps vaccine is usually given before the child begins kindergarten or first grade (at 4 to 5 years of age) or before entry to middle school (11 to 12 years of age). The age at which the second dose is required is generally mandated by state school entry requirements.
Some adults should also get mumps vaccine. Generally, anyone 18 years of age or older who was born after 1956 should get at least one dose of mumps vaccine, unless they can show that they have had either the vaccines or the disease.
The mumps vaccine does not provide 100 percent protection. One dose of the vaccine provides protection in approximately 80 percent of people, and two doses provide protection in approximately 90 percent of people. But even though the vaccine is effective, some of the cases in a mumps outbreak will be in people who were vaccinated against the disease.
It takes about 2 weeks after receiving the mumps vaccine before your body develops immunity to the disease. If you must travel to an affected area before you have immunity, mumps prevention tips include:
- Wash your hands frequently
- Do not share eating utensils or beverage containers
- Avoid other sources of saliva, such as from a person who is sneezing or coughing.
Most people who get the mumps vaccine don't develop any side effects. However, a vaccine, like any medicine, has the potential to cause side effects. Most mumps vaccine side effects are minor, meaning that the symptoms improve on their own or are easily treated by the healthcare provider. The most common adverse reactions to the vaccine are parotitis (swelling of the parotid gland) and low-grade fever.
In rare cases, side effects can be more serious or, in very rare cases, cause serious harm or even death. However, getting the mumps vaccine is much safer than getting mumps.
(Click MMR Side Effects for more information.)