Text Size:

How Effective Is Mumps Vaccine?


vaccine effectiveness

According to the manufacturer’s product insert, the mumps vaccine is 96 percent effective.1 However, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that two doses of mumps vaccine are between 31 and 95 percent effective, while a single dose is 49 to 91 percent effective.2

Mumps outbreaks in highly vaccinated populations began in 2006 with the majority of cases occurring among young adults between the ages of 18 and 24. By the late 2000’s, researchers began speculating that the lack of natural boosting from exposure to wild-type mumps may be resulting in waning of vaccine acquired immunity. Moreover, the number of asymptomatic patients transmitting the infection to others may be higher than the estimated 30 percent, thus affecting public health measures designed to contain the outbreak. As a result of the resurgence in mumps cases among highly vaccinated individuals, experts reported that measures to locate unvaccinated individuals would not be helpful, and a third dose of mumps vaccine (MMR) was suggested as method of preventing and containing further outbreaks.3 4

Studies have noted mumps vaccine waning as evidenced by outbreaks occurring more frequently among adults, rather than children, 5 6 with researchers predicting an increase in mumps outbreaks as vaccine-induced immunity replaces natural immunity to the disease.7 The time between the last dose of mumps vaccine (MMR) and the onset of the disease appears to be a factor in outbreaks, suggestive of vaccine waning and its inability to confer long lasting immunity.8

Several researchers have reported the current two-dose MMR vaccine strategy to be ineffective at preventing mumps outbreaks. 9 10 Additionally, while health officials believe that the administration of a third dose of MMR vaccine may assist in controlling an outbreak, they have also indicated that routine recommendation of an additional dose will not prevent mumps outbreaks. 11 12 13 Both the rapid decrease in vaccine induced mumps antibody levels, as well as the emergence of mumps strains not targeted by the vaccine, may cause additional booster doses of mumps vaccine to be ineffective at preventing and controlling mumps outbreaks. The limited effectiveness of the current vaccine strategies to prevent mumps outbreaks has prompted several experts to recommend that more research be dedicated to examining the immune system’s response to mumps vaccination. 14 15 Numerous studies focused on the continued mumps outbreaks occurring in highly vaccinated populations have many researchers suggesting that both the waning of vaccine induced immunity and the lack of an effective mumps vaccine may be to blame.16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23

The MMRII and ProQuad (MMRV) vaccines contain mumps genotype A, the Jeryl Lynn strain, isolated from samples collected in 1963. However, since 2006, mumps genotype G has become the predominant circulating strain of mumps in the United States. The CDC reports that while studies have found the Jeryl Lynn (genotype A) strain effective at preventing mumps infections caused by genotype G, vaccine induced antibodies have been noted to be lower.24 In 2015-2016, a large mumps outbreak involving mumps genotype G in Norway concluded that the genotype A found in the MMR vaccine offered “suboptimal protection against mumps genotype G”.25 Additional studies have also reported that the Jeryl Lynn mumps strain to be inadequate to protect against the strains of mumps that are currently circulating.2627

In 2010, two former Merck employees filed a lawsuit alleging that Merck altered the vaccine efficacy testing and study results in an attempt to make the mumps vaccine appear more effective than it is. Specifically, the lawsuit made claims that mumps outbreaks in vaccinated individuals were directly related to the alleged falsification of efficacy data.28 29 The lawsuit is still pending at this time.

In October of 2017, as a result of continual mumps outbreaks in highly vaccinated populations, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended a third dose of mumps vaccine (MMR) to be administered in the event of an outbreak. At the time of this recommendation, the use of a third MMR vaccine was reported to be between 61 and 88 percent effective at preventing mumps infection.30

IMPORTANT NOTE: NVIC encourages you to become fully informed about Mumps and the Mumps vaccine by reading all sections in the Table of Contents, which contain many links and resources such as the manufacturer product information inserts, and to speak with one or more trusted health care professionals before making a vaccination decision for yourself or your child. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice.

« Return to Vaccines & Diseases Table of Contents

References

1 FDA Measles, Mumps and Rubella Virus Vaccine, Live  May 16, 2017

2 CDC Mumps For Healthcare Providers – Vaccination. Feb 16, 2018.

3 Barskey AE, Glasser JW, LeBaron CW. Mumps resurgences in the United States: A historical perspective on unexpected elements. Vaccine. 2009 Oct 19;27(44):6186-95

4 Dayan GH, Quinlisk MP, Parker AA et al. Recent resurgence of mumps in the United States. N Engl J Med. 2008 Apr 10;358(15):1580-9.

5 Lewnard JA, Grad, YH Vaccine waning and mumps re-emergence in the United States Sci Transl Med. 2018 Mar 21; 10(433): eaao5945.

6 Peltola H, Kulkarni PS, Kapre SV et al. Mumps outbreaks in Canada and the United States: time for new thinking on mumps vaccines. Clin Infect Dis. 2007 Aug 15;45(4):459-66

7 Lewnard JA, Grad, YH Vaccine waning and mumps re-emergence in the United States Sci Transl Med. 2018 Mar 21; 10(433): eaao5945.

8 Vygen S, Fischer A, Meurice L et al. Waning immunity against mumps in vaccinated young adults, France 2013. Euro Surveill. 2016;21(10):30156.

9 Principi N, Esposito S. Mumps outbreaks: A problem in need of solutions. J Infect. 2018 Jun;76(6):503-506

10 May M, Rieder CA, Rowe RJ Emergent lineages of mumps virus suggest the need for a polyvalent vaccine. Int J Infect Dis. 2018 Jan;66:1-4.

11 Fiebelkorn AP, Coleman LA, Belongia EA et al. Mumps antibody response in young adults after a third dose of measles-mumps-rubella vaccine. Open Forum Infect Dis. 2014 Oct 18;1(3):ofu094

12 Latner DR, Parker Fiebelkorn A, McGrew M et al. Mumps Virus Nucleoprotein and Hemagglutinin-Specific Antibody Response Following a Third Dose of Measles Mumps Rubella Vaccine. Open Forum Infect Dis. 2017 Dec 8;4(4):ofx263

13 Principi N, Esposito S. Mumps outbreaks: A problem in need of solutions. J Infect. 2018 Jun;76(6):503-506

14 Fiebelkorn AP, Coleman LA, Belongia EA et al. Mumps antibody response in young adults after a third dose of measles-mumps-rubella vaccine. Open Forum Infect Dis. 2014 Oct 18;1(3):ofu094

15 Principi N, Esposito S. Mumps outbreaks: A problem in need of solutions. J Infect. 2018 Jun;76(6):503-506

16 Ibid

17 Fields VS, Safi H, Waters C et al. Mumps in a highly vaccinated Marshallese community in Arkansas, USA: an outbreak report. Lancet Infect Dis. 2019 Feb;19(2):185-192

18 L’Huillier AG, Eshaghi A,Racey CS et al. Laboratory testing and phylogenetic analysis during a mumps outbreak in Ontario, Canada Virol J. 2018; 15: 98.

19 Lewnard JA, Grad, YH Vaccine waning and mumps re-emergence in the United States Sci Transl Med. 2018 Mar 21; 10(433): eaao5945.

20 Dayan GH, Rubin S Mumps outbreaks in vaccinated populations: are available mumps vaccines effective enough to prevent outbreaks? Clin. Infect. Dis. 2008; 47: 1458–1467

21 Peltola H, Kulkarni PS, Kapre SV et al. Mumps outbreaks in Canada and the United States: time for new thinking on mumps vaccines. Clin Infect Dis. 2007 Aug 15;45(4):459-66

22 Choi KM. Reemergence of mumps. Korean J Pediatr. 2010 May; 53(5): 623–628.

23 Dayan GH, Quinlisk MP, Parker AA et al. Recent resurgence of mumps in the United States. N Engl J Med. 2008 Apr 10;358(15):1580-9.

24 CDC Recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for Use of a Third Dose of Mumps Virus–Containing Vaccine in Persons at Increased Risk for Mumps During an Outbreak. MMWR Jan. 12, 2018; 67(1);33–38

25 Veneti L, Borgen K, Borge KS et al. Large outbreak of mumps virus genotype G among vaccinated students in Norway, 2015 to 2016. Euro Surveill. 2018 Sep;23(38)

26 Gouma S, Ten Hulscher HI, Schurink-van 't Klooster TM et al. Mumps-specific cross-neutralization by MMR vaccine-induced antibodies predicts protection against mumps virus infection. Vaccine. 2016 Jul 29;34(35):4166-4171

27 May M, Rieder CA, Rowe RJ Emergent lineages of mumps virus suggest the need for a polyvalent vaccine. Int J Infect Dis. 2018 Jan;66:1-4.

28 Koleva G, Merck Whistleblower Suit A Boon to Vaccine Foes Even As It Stresses Importance of Vaccines. Forbes. Jun. 27, 2012.

29 Krahling S, Wlochowski, Plaintiffs, vs Merck. U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Aug. 27, 2010. 

30 CDC Recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for Use of a Third Dose of Mumps Virus–Containing Vaccine in Persons at Increased Risk for Mumps During an Outbreak. MMWR Jan. 12, 2018; 67(1);33–38


Make a Difference Support NVIC

NVIC is 100% funded by donations.
Please give.

Help educate families about preventing vaccine injury and death by donating to NVIC today.

Discover How You Can Take Action to Support Our Efforts

Support NVIC!


Connect with us!

  • NVIC Pinterest
  • NVIC Facebook
  • NVIC Twitter
  • NVIC Youtube
  • NVIC Instagram

Ask 8 Kiosk & Educational Marketplace

Ask 8 Questions

Visit our Ask 8 Kiosk to explore a variety of FREE educational materials, from posters and brochures to embeddable web graphics and other resources.

View FREE Downloads