About the mumps (MMR) vaccine

  • The mumps vaccine protects against mumps, a contagious disease caused by the mumps virus.
  • In the Yukon, mumps vaccination is a part of the combination immunization known as MMR, which protects infants and children from measles, mumps and rubella, all in one shot. This live vaccine contains a weakened form of these three viruses, which do not cause infection.
  • The vaccine is a 2 dose series, usually offered when a child is one year of age and then again before your child begins school.


  • The MMR vaccine is given to children as a series of 2 doses.
    • The 1st dose is given at 12 months of age, and the 2nd dose is given at 4 to 6 years of age.
  • Children 4 to12 years of age who also need protection against chickenpox (varicella) can get their 2nd dose as the combined measles, mumps, rubella and varicella vaccine (MMRV).
  • Older children and teens who have not been immunized should also get 2 doses of the MMR vaccine.
  • The MMR vaccine is not routinely recommended for individuals born before 1970 as they have often acquired immunity to mumps from natural infection.
  • Non-immune health care workers, students of post-secondary educational settings and travelers to outside of North America should receive 2 doses of the MMR vaccine.
  • It is important to ensure your MMR immunization is complete before pregnancy. Female recipients should avoid pregnancy for 1 month after being immunized.
  • Mumps is caused by a contagious virus that causes fever, headaches and swelling of salivary glands and cheeks. It was a very common childhood disease before the vaccine was developed.
  • Mumps is spread by direct contact with saliva. It’s easily spread through coughing, sneezing, close face-to-face contact or sharing items such cups or toys.
  • The most recognized symptom of mumps are puffy cheeks and a tender, swollen jaw.
  • Complications can include meningitis, temporary painful swelling of testicles or ovaries, temporary deafness, and in severe cases inflammation of the brain (encephalitis).
  • This vaccine is safe and very effective.
  • The MMR vaccine is the best way to protect against mumps and its complications.
  • The MMR vaccine is a combination vaccine that also protects against 2 other infections, measles and rubella.
  • When you or your child get vaccinated, you help protect the spread to others too.
  • This vaccine is free in the Yukon for those who need it
  • Most children and adults have no reactions to immunization.
  • For people that do, common reactions to the immunization may include:
    • redness, tenderness, and swelling at the injection site;
    • mild to moderate fever
    • a skin rash; and
    • swelling of glands in the cheek or neck, 7 to 12 days after vaccination.
  • If the rash resembles chickenpox, keep it covered or stay way from pregnant women, infants and people with weak immune systems.
  • Teenage and adult women may experience temporary joint pain.
  • Rarely, serious reactions that may occur include:
    • seizures caused by fever;
    • low blood platelet count; and
    • encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).
  • The above reactions are very rare and the risk of them occurring is much higher following infection then vaccination.
  • Side effects of the immunization are easily relieved by applying a cold and damp compress to the site and taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen for temperatures 38.5°C or higher. See your health care provider if your symptoms are severe or last longer than 48 hours.
  • It is important to stay in the clinic for 15 minutes after getting any immunization because there is a rare possibility of developing a severe allergic reaction which is treatable at the clinic. This happens to fewer than 1 in 1 million people. If it happens after you leave the clinic, call 911 or the local emergency number. If you or your child experiences any serious or unexpected reactions, contact your physician and report all severe reactions to one of the nurses at your local Health Centre.

PROQUAD® allergens include:

  • hydrolysed gelatin;
  • neomycin;
  • bovine serum albumin and
  • egg protein

PRIORIX-TETRA® allergens include:

  • neomycin sulphate; and
  • egg protein

Find out how to get immunized