A new study suggests that a 3rd dose of the MMR vaccine against measles, mumps, and rubella may help prevent outbreaks of mumps.
The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and conclusions were based on data from a large mumps outbreak in 2015-2016 at the University of Iowa.
There were 259 students who got mumps during the outbreak, where 98% out of roughly 20,000 students at the University had received 2 doses of the MMR vaccine.
The study showed that getting a 3rd dose of MMR vaccine cut the risk of contracting mumps by 78%.
The researchers also found that students who had received their 2nd shot of the MMR vaccine at least 13 years before attending the university were 9X more likely to be infected with mumps during the outbreak than students who had been vaccinated more recently.
According to Dr. Cristina Cardemil, the study’s lead author and a medical epidemiologist in CDC’s division of viral diseases:
“Collectively these data suggest waning immunity from the second MMR vaccine dose.”
The experts are investigating the issue and may suggest that all teenagers get a 3rd dose of MMR vaccine around the time they get ready to head to college.
The current schedule for MMR vaccination is the 1st dose of the vaccine between 12-15 months of age and the 2nd dose between the ages of 4-6 years old.