The mumps vaccine, while not 100 percent effective, is still the best mumps prevention method. In the United States, the vaccine is either given by itself or in combination with vaccines for measles and rubella. Not everyone should have -- or needs to have -- this vaccine. Your healthcare provider can tell you if you need the vaccine or not.
Mumps prevention begins with the mumps vaccine. The vaccine contains live, attenuated (weakened) mumps virus. In the United States, the mumps vaccine is licensed and available as a single preparation (Mumpsvax®) or combined with both live attenuated measles and rubella vaccine (MMR vaccine). Typically, mumps vaccine is administered as MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine.
Since most information for mumps vaccine is from MMR vaccine studies, this article uses "mumps vaccine" and "MMR vaccine" to mean the same thing, unless otherwise specified.
You do not need the mumps vaccine if:
- You have blood tests that show you are immune to mumps
- You were born before 1957
- You already had two doses of mumps vaccine.
You should get the vaccine if you are not among the categories listed above, and:
- You are a college student, trade school student, or other student beyond high school
- You work in a hospital or other medical facility
- You travel internationally, or are a passenger on a cruise ship
- You are a woman of childbearing age.
(Click MMR Vaccine Precautions to learn more about groups of people who should wait or not receive the mumps vaccine.)