3rd MMR Vaccine Booster Available to All Alaskan Residents
The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (ADHSS) is now offering a third dose of measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine to Alaskan residents who would like additional protection against mumps.
This free benefit is for those who received their second dose more than five years ago, and they are either covered by Alaska Medicaid, insured by a carrier that participates in Alaska Vaccine Assessment Program or whose medical provider has opted-in to AVAP for uninsured adults.
Typically, Americans receive two MMR doses as children.
Since May 2017, Alaska has received reports of 271 confirmed and probable mumps cases.
In the five previous years, Alaska averaged less than one case of mumps per year.
The spread of the mumps is also exacerbated by the illness’s long incubation period, 12 to 25 days, says the ADHSS.
The ADHSS cautioned in a public health advisory it issued at the end of February that the outbreak is not slowing and that cases are appearing in communities outside Anchorage.
“It’s good to remember that Alaska is not the only state in the US experiencing a mumps outbreak,” said Amanda Tiffany, an epidemiologist with the Alaska Division of Public in Health.
“Over 4,900 mumps infections were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from 48 states and the District of Columbia in 2017. We know that Alaskans are very mobile, traveling within Alaska and from Alaska to the Lower 48 and Hawaii.”
“Vaccination is the best way to prevent infection with the mumps virus. It’s important to know the signs and symptoms of mumps and to see a doctor if you start experiencing symptoms.”
“The doctor will tell you to self-isolate for 5 days after symptoms start; this is really important to stop the spread of the virus. This does mean staying at home and away from public places and members of your family – no work, school, church, social activities,” Tiffany said.
Mumps is a viral illness typically causes fever, headaches and swollen salivary glands and can cause serious health complications.
In the USA, Merck is the manufacturer of two mumps vaccinations. MMR and ProQuad both contain the protection for mumps, as well as protection against measles and rubella.
The CDC Vaccine Price List provides the private sector vaccine prices for general information.
Most pharmacies offer the MMR vaccine, and discounts can be found here.