PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — Over 2,000 students and staffers at Temple University took advantage of free vaccine booster shots Wednesday as the number of mumps cases at the school topped 100. Philadelphia health officials said 2,285 people were given shots during the first of two clinics offering the MMR vaccine. The number of confirmed and probable mumps cases at the university has reached 106 as of Wednesday, according to the city health department.
The MMR vaccine, for measles, mumps and rubella, will be available to all Temple students, faculty and staff on Wednesday and Friday in an effort to contain the outbreak.
“We had a lot of people show up, mostly students and some staff here at Temple. We vaccinated 660 people in the first two hours,” said Dr. Steve Alles, of the Philadelphia Health Department.
Alles said the booster shots will protect students from mumps for the rest of the semester.
“The highest priority group we want to get vaccinated for the booster dose of the MMR vaccine are Temple students and, so the ones who haven’t been exposed yet to mumps, this will protect them for the rest of the semester, so they can complete the rest of the semester healthy,” said Alles.
Matt Sheley, who was in line for a booster shot, said his roommate contracted the mumps.
“He was sick for about two weeks,” he said. “He had really bad facial swelling.”
Among those in line Wednesday was Lauryn Edmondson, a 20-year-old communications major.
“At first, I was kind of freaking out a little bit,” she said, adding she worried because she has some friends and family members who are immunocompromised.
“The best I can do for myself and others is to get my booster shot,” she said.
She said she felt the school could have initially done a better job at informing students about the outbreak. She said now the school is distributing helpful information and she said she feels like she has a better handle on it.
Fifty years ago, mumps was a childhood rite of passage of puffy cheeks and swollen jaws. That all changed with the arrival of a vaccine in the late 1960s, nearly eradicating the disease. Research suggests that protection fades 10 or more years after the second dose.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the MMR vaccine is the best protection.
Mumps is caused by a virus. It’s contagious and spread through coughing and sneezing. Common symptoms are fever, headache, and painfully swollen salivary glands that can cause puffy cheeks. Most cases occur in children and teens who spread it at schools and dormitories.
Some people never have symptoms. In most others, it is a mild disease that people completely recover from in few weeks. Sometimes it can lead to complications: hearing loss, meningitis and swollen testicles. In rare cases, infections lead to sterility.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)