Kids health

Can my kid get mumps and measles even if she's been vaccinated?

Your kid has received the MMR vaccine, but you still worry when you hear about mumps and measles outbreaks. Here's what you need to know.

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.

   mother kissing her baby's head, baby has small chickens drawn over him to illustrate chicken pox    
   6 kid illnesses that you didn't know you could get as an adult
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.

Read more:
Your ultimate guide to the most common kid illnesses
Scared of needles? A parent’s guide to making vaccination shots less painful


Stay in touch

Subscribe to Today's Parent's daily newsletter for our best parenting news, tips, essays and recipes.