I keep hearing about measles and mumps outbreaks. My kid has had the MMR vaccine, but could she still be affected?
It is possible to contract measles and mumps if you are vaccinated, but the risk is very small. About three percent of people who received the two recommended doses of the MMR vaccine will get measles or mumps if exposed to someone who has the virus. Vaccines prompt the body to produce antibodies to illnesses, but some people’s immune systems don’t develop them as they should.
However, if an immunized child does get measles or mumps, it’s likely to be a very mild case (in unvaccinated kids, measles can be life-threatening, with complications like pneumonia and inflammation of the brain). And a three percent risk is much lower than the risk if not vaccinated, so everyone should have their kids vaccinated.
Kids should get the first MMR vaccine dose at one year and a booster shot at four to six years. Lifetime immunity isn’t guaranteed after just the first needle, so it’s important to keep track of vaccines and follow up with the second dose.