MMR offered in schools after mumps outbreak

  • Joanne McCarthy

The HSE has announced that it will offer the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine to all post-Junior Cert students before the summer break in response to continued increases in cases of mumps.

So far this year, there have been almost 2,000 notifications of mumps reported to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, compared to just 128 for the same period in 2008.

The vaccination will be offered to transition, fifth and sixth year students in secondary schools free of charge by the Department of Health and the HSE. According to the HSE, the outbreak is happening in 15 to 24-year-olds because many older teenagers have not had two doses of the MMR vaccine.

“Outbreaks of mumps have been reported in secondary schools, colleges, universities, and sports clubs – that’s why we’ve decided to offer this group a dose of MMR. It will protect them now, and when they leave school,” said Dr Brenda Corcoran from the HSE’s National Immunisation Office.

Mumps is an acute viral illness that causes fever, headache and painful, swollen salivary glands.  It is contagious and requires isolation or quarantine, and can cause people to miss up to two weeks from school, work, studying, taking exams or socialising.

Generally, complications are mild but mumps can cause meningitis, deafness or inflammation of the pancreas or testicles. The MMR vaccine provides protection from mumps, as well as measles and rubella.

Teams from the HSE Public Health Departments and Local Health Offices will contact second level schools across the country this week to schedule immunisation clinics in schools in the coming weeks, with bigger schools being prioritised initially due to the greater risk they pose.

According to the HSE, recent studies estimate that one dose of MMR is about 80% effective against mumps, and two doses of MMR are about 88 to 95% effective in preventing mumps. If a young person’s MMR history is not known, an extra dose of MMR will do no harm, and could offer valuable protection against mumps.

The HSE will be attending as many schools as possible in the weeks before the summer break, and any schools that are not targeted will be followed up in September.  In addition, the HSE continues to advise those in 3rd level institutions to attend student health services for the MMR vaccine.


Anonymous - 24/04/2009 10:46

I am glad to see that ths is being provided free as the complications from mumps can be very damaging but why do parents have to pay €300 to have their daughters recieve the HPV vaccine given that the complication from cervical cancer - which is caused by HPV, is cancer-related death??

Bluebird - 29/04/2009 02:25

The letter sent home from the HSE through my son's secondary school stated that the outbreak was in the l5+ age group.  It stated that some individuals had only received one injection of the MMR and had not received a second booster. In my son's case he received the MMR in Primary School in Sixth Class and no mention was  made of the fact that a booster or second injection would be required.  It seems to me that the HSE slipped up and that is why the mumps outbreak is affecting l5+ age groups.  If Parents had been instructed to present their children for a second injection or booster to their G.P's or clinics then that would have been done.


greatworklads - 16/05/2009 12:22

I got the second injection through the school a few weeks back and I've got mumps symptoms nowYell


informed - 30/05/2009 16:17

Parents should be given the manufacturers info for mumps vaccine which includes the possible side effects from the vaccine i.e. diabetes mellitus (type 1) deafness, encephalitis( brain damage) heart problems etc,etc.

Students in the US still got the mumps following the booster MMR shot.

Irish Vaccine Informed Parents

buzz - 03/06/2009 09:28

Every vaccine includes a package insert that tells the doctor (and the parent should they have the presence of mind to request it) all about the vaccine, including its description, ingredients, purpose, contraindications (under what circumstances one should NOT have the vaccine), and side effects. No parent is obliged to have their child undergo such vaccination without first being able to access this information. It is not kept under lock and key, nor is it ecrypted or coded.Merck is the manufacturer of the commonly used MMR vaccine. MMR stands for Measles, Mumps, and Rubella. They provide a copy of the MMR package insert on their website

Anonymous - 04/06/2009 10:24

Informed, do you know what the side effects of mumps are?Meningitis is one of them and a particularly catastropic one at that.Do you know what the long term effects of meningitis are?Maura.

gotguts - 23/07/2009 23:16

is informed a doctor? because if not an authority on issue should not be making 'claims'

informed - 08/08/2009 15:53

For parents who want information on Mumps vaccine Type in Mumpsvax into google to get infomation on Mumps vaccine from the Merck drug company including adverse reactions/ possible side effects. Irish Vaccine Informed Parents

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