Will vaccine booster clinics stop mumps outbreak?

Wednesday, March 27, 2019
Will vaccine booster clinics stop mumps outbreak?
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Will vaccine booster clinics stop mumps outbreak? Ali Gorman reports during Action News at 5pm on March 27, 2019.

NORTH PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Hundreds of students at Temple University have now received a booster Mumps vaccine, but will this stop the outbreak?

It's definitely a good sign that so many people showed up to get the vaccine.

Unfortunately it won't stop the outbreak right away, but it should slow it down. Then, eventually, it should taper off if enough students get the booster.

The vaccine takes about two weeks to take effect and the goal is to protect students who haven't been exposed.

But if someone has already had close contact with mumps, they could still come down with the virus.

"With the long incubation period that mumps has - 2-3 weeks - that people are exposed and incubating right now. So we do expect there will be more cases reported to us in next days and weeks, says Dr. Steven Alles, of the Philadelphia Health Department's Division of Disease Control

However, if they get this extra dose of the vaccine, it should help lessen the severity of the illness.

The majority of people in this outbreak who got sick were vaccinated as kids. The problem is the mumps vaccine can start to wear off.

A 2018 study from Harvard University shows 25% of those vaccinated against mumps lose protection within about 8 years.

50% lose protection within 19 years and 75% lose protection within 38 years.

Right now, this booster dose of the MMR vaccine is only recommended during high-risk times, such as an outbreak.

Just last year alone, there were at least a dozen outbreaks on college campuses. And this year, there are at least 4, including Temple.

So the question is, will this third dose become a routine recommendation?

That's a decision that the CDC will have to make.