When it comes to mumps prevention, an extra jab may do the trick.
During a mumps outbreak, doctors can provide an optional third dose of mumps vaccine, according to the 2018 recommended immunization schedule from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
This recommendation was clarified last October by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in response to an increase in mumps cases and outbreaks in the United States since 2006.
While two doses of measles-mumps-rubella vaccine are highly effective in preventing mumps, that protection decreases over time, according to the CDC.
The academy—a leading group of U.S. pediatricians—outlines the latest immunization schedule for children and teens in a new policy statement.
“There are specific windows of time when vaccines work the best to protect a child, and the schedule is designed to maximize these opportunities,” statement author Dr. H. Cody Meissner said in an AAP news release.
Also recommended: an annual flu vaccine for children ages 6 months and older (unchanged from the 2017 schedule).
In addition, children aged 11-12 should receive two doses of the human papillomavirus vaccine, while those older than 15 should get three doses.
The HPV virus has been linked to cancers of the cervix, vagina and vulva in women; cancers of the penis in men; and cancers of the anus and back of the throat in both women and men, according to the CDC.
The immunization schedule also provides additional information about the timing of the birth dose of a hepatitis B vaccine for infants weighing more than 4.4 pounds.
There’s also a catch-up schedule for children and teens who start late or are more than a month behind in vaccines.
“Following the immunization schedule is the most important way to protect children as they grow into adulthood by keeping them free from vaccine-preventable diseases,” said Meissner, a member of the AAP infectious disease committee.
A national team of medical experts and public health officials updates the schedule annually.
The AAP statement was published online in the journal Pediatrics.