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HSE offering free MMR vaccines for people aged 11-30 as number of mumps cases rise

HSE offering free MMR vaccines for people aged 11-30 as number of mumps cases rise

It follows a large rise in the number of people contracting mumps in recent months.

Those concerned about not being protected can ask their GP about getting the jab free of charge.

"Secondary schools and third level institutions have seen the highest incidences of mumps," said public health specialist at the HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre, Dr Suzanne Cotter.

"During 2019 the number of mumps cases continued to rise and we saw 2,762 cases compared with 573 cases the previous year.

"To date in 2020, 253 cases have already been notified to the HSE.

"Vaccination with MMR vaccine is the only way to protect against mumps. The vaccine also protects against measles and rubella."

In Ireland, the first MMR dose is given at 12 months of age, and the second dose at 4-5 years of age.

Dr Cotter said that a third dose of MMR will not cause anyone any harm so if anyone is unsure whether they have had two doses can safely receive the vaccine again.

"Mumps is a highly infectious and dangerous illness which spreads very easily, particularly in homes, crèches, playgroups, camps, schools and universities," she said.

"It can be a serious illness and can have life changing repercussions in some instances."