Nearly 1,300 University of Missouri students received a third dose of the MMR vaccine this week during a three-day clinic after an outbreak of the mumps during the fall semester.
“My dad told me that I should definitely get it and I was just kind of worried that it’s been going around,” said Andrew Monson, a junior at MU, who got the vaccine Friday.
“It stings a little bit, but it was worth it,” said Lily Fitzgibbon, a senior, who also went to the free clinic.
Dr. Susan Even, the executive director of the Student Health Center, said another 2,300 students reported getting a third vaccine over Christmas break. Even said the university is still seeing cases of the mumps.
As of Feb. 16, there have been 341 probable and confirmed cases of the mumps identified in MU students.
“We’re hoping that with the combination of the vaccine, the vaccine clinic and also the fact that more students are going to be out and about in less enclosed spaces, that those kinds of things can help reduce the number, the contagiousness and the spread,” she said.
Even said the state health department is covering the cost of the vaccine for the clinic. She said there may be another, smaller-scale clinic soon if there are vaccines left over.
“We’d like to keep immunizing, because we think that’s still going to be one of our best chances of all the other things everyone is already trying,” she said.
“I feel like it was more of an outbreak last semester. I’m less worried about it now,” Fitzgibbon said. “I don’t know as many people that are catching it right now, but I still felt getting the shot would be a good idea.”
The Columbia/Boone County Health Department has seen another 38 cases of the mumps that do not involve MU students since Aug. 22.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 27 states have reported 495 cases of the mumps so far in 2017. Missouri has already reported at least 50 cases, making it the state with the second-highest number of mumps cases behind Arkansas.
Even said it’s hard to say why the number of mumps cases has gone up in the state.
“I think if we knew or understand that, we would really be ahead of the game,” she said. “I don’t think anyone really understands it.”
Mizzou has to go 50 days without a confirmed case of the mumps to be considered “mumps free.”