FAQ For Young Adults


Why should I be vaccinated?

If you get the mumps, chances are you will miss out on things that are important to you — school, work, sports and spending time with family and friends. Complications from mumps can also be serious. Mumps outbreaks among young adults and students attending post-secondary institutions have occurred across the country.  Four out of five young adults born in Ontario between 1970 and 1991 are not fully protected against mumps and did not receive the 2 vaccines required.  Young adults have the highest risk of infection because they tend to live, work, and socialize in close proximity – especially those who attend post-secondary schools.

Where can I get vaccinated?

You can be vaccinated at your doctor’s office, a walk-in clinic, or at some local public health units.

How much does the vaccination cost?

The vaccination is free.

Does the vaccine have a name?

It is called MMR (measles, mumps rubella) vaccine. It protects you against all three illnesses.

I was born between 1970 and 1991 and I am not a post-secondary student. Can I get mumps too?

Yes, but your risk of infection is lower because you probably don’t interact with others as frequently as those in the high-risk group. Most people born between 1970 and 1991 received only a single dose of the MMR vaccine. Most people born later received two doses and people born before 1970 have been exposed to mumps and are considered to be immune. To be fully protected from contracting mumps, two immunizations are required.

I can’t find my immunization records.  What should I do?

Ask your parents or guardian -- they may have your yellow immunization card — or you can contact the public health unit closest to where you last attended secondary school. They will likely have a copy of your immunization records. You can also contact your health care provider who provided your childhood immunizations.  If you still cannot locate your immunization records, you can receive one dose of MMR vaccine.

What if my records show I’ve already received 2 doses of MMR vaccine or what if I’m sure I’ve been vaccinated for mumps twice?

You should not be vaccinated again.

If I live in Ontario, but go to school in another province or country, am I still eligible for vaccination?


Who should not get vaccinated with MMR vaccine?

You should not be vaccinated with MMR vaccine if you:

  • Have had an allergic reaction to an MMR vaccine.
  • Have had an allergic reaction to neomycin or gelatin.
  • Have had a treatment or disease that impairs your immune system.
  • Are pregnant, suspect you are pregnant, or are trying to become pregnant.
  • Had a blood transfusion or immune globulin therapy in the last three months.
  • Have a fever or infection or anything worse than a cold. If so, defer your vaccination until you are well.

What if I don’t have an Ontario health card?

Contact your local public health unit.

Could I get a reaction to the vaccine?

The MMR vaccine can cause a mild rash or fever beginning five to 12 days after vaccination, which can last for a few days. Allergic reactions are rare. You will not get the mumps from the vaccine.

How might I get infected with mumps?

Mumps spreads through direct contact with saliva from an infected person. Droplets from coughs or sneezes can enter the nose or mouth.  Infection can also result from kissing, or by sharing food or beverages.  The virus can also survive on surfaces. Touching a surface contaminated by the mumps virus and then touching your nose or mouth can cause infection.

Could I be infected with mumps without knowing it?

Yes. About 20 per cent of infected people have no symptoms and can still spread the virus to others.  Another 40 per cent to 50 per cent have symptoms that may or may not be related to mumps, such as respiratory or cold-like symptoms.