INDIANAPOLIS - Butler University and Indiana University are offering free Measles Mumps Rubella vaccinations to students and faculty in an attempt to control a mumps outbreak. Young adults are especially vulnerable, even if they've already been vaccinated.
The mumps vaccine has been available since the late 1960s. And today, health officials recommend that children receive two doses of the MMR before they turn six.
But the vaccine is still not 100 percent effective.
Riley IU Health pediatric infectious disease specialist Dr. John Christenson says, over time, two doses may not be enough.
"Even after two doses you still have people who, with time, will lose anti-bodies or not have any anti-bodies and so that means they have no protection against mumps," Christenson said.
This is one of the reasons mumps outbreaks happen among college-age adults.
Two doses of the MMR vaccine are more than 80 percent effective. The third booster – offered to students and faculty by Butler and IU – might increase this percentage, but Christenson says no one knows for sure.
"What they have noted that in many cases the outbreaks have ended after instituting the third dose," Christenson explained.
So far, there have been 13 confirmed cases of mumps in Indiana. Nationally there have been 69 cases this year.
A spokesman for the Marion County health department said that 3,100 people received the vaccine during clinics at Butler on Tuesday and Wednesday. Butler staff were required to recieve the booster. IU’s clinics were scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.