About the vaccine

Vaccination is the best way to prevent mumps.  There are two vaccines available in BC that provide protection against mumps:

These vaccines are provided free as part of routine childhood immunizations and to others that need protection against mumps. The MMR and MMRV vaccines are safe and effective.  

Mumps vaccine recommendations 

Children (12 months - less than 18 years of age)

It is recommended that children receive two doses of mumps-containing vaccine.  The first dose (MMR vaccine) is routinely given to children at 12 months of age and the second dose (MMRV vaccine) at 4-6 years of age.

Adults (18 years of age and older, excluding health care workers)

One dose of mumps-containing vaccine is recommended for adults born in 1970 or later who have not had mumps disease (for those who have had mumps disease, evidence of immunity is required).  However, the following groups need two doses:

  • Students of post-secondary educational settings
  • Travelers to outside of North America

Adults born before 1970 are generally assumed to have acquired immunity to mumps from natural infection. However, there may be susceptible people in this age group, and those without a history of mumps disease or vaccination should talk to their health care provider about getting vaccinated.

Health care workers

Health care workers, who do not have evidence of immunity to mumps, need one dose of mumps-containing vaccine if born between January 1, 1957 and December 31, 1969 and two doses if born in 1970 or later. 

Where can I find more information?

For more information about the MMR and MMRV vaccines, including the benefits, possible reactions after the vaccine and who should not get the vaccine, see the HealthLinkBC files:

About the disease

Mumps is an acute viral illness caused by the mumps virus. 

  • Mumps usually causes fever, aches and pains, headaches, and swelling of the salivary glands and cheeks
  • Mumps is spread by coughing, sneezing, kissing, or getting an infected person's saliva into your mouth
  • Complications are rare but can include inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), testicles or ovaries and deafness
  • Death related to mumps infection happens in about 1 out of every 10,000 cases

There is less mumps disease in BC because of routine childhood vaccination programs

For more information on this disease, see the mumps (14c) HealthLink BC File.

Photo courtesy of Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. More vaccine preventable disease images