This column is in no way intended to suggest the MMR vaccine is an alternative to the COVID-19 vaccine, however for those who are not at the front of the line, the information might be worth a second look. To me, the study findings were so remarkable that I sent my 78-year-old mother to get her first MMR the very next day.
So what does this mean exactly? Most likely the mumps portion of the MMR vaccine is less effective in the Marshallese population in particular due to some genetic difference in their immune response. It is also possible this virus is “drifting” by changing a protein here or there or an H or N molecule as similar to the influenza virus. So all in all, there are likely small changes in the natural mumps virus altering the landscape for everyone; however those with Marshallese background are naturally more susceptible.