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Measles vaccination policy

  • B. G. Williams (a1), F. T. Cutts (a2) and C. Dye (a2)


Where immunization campaigns locally eliminate measles, it will be important to identify the vaccination policy most likely to prevent future epidemics. The optimum age for vaccination depends on the rate of decline of maternal antibody, because the presence of antibody reduces vaccine efficacy. The first part of this paper contains a quantitative reappraisal of the data on antibody decline and seroconversion rates by age. The decline in maternal antibody protection follows delayed exponentials, with delays of 2–4 months, and subsequent half-lives of 1–2 months. Using this result in an analytical mathematical model we find that the optimal age to administer a single dose of vaccine to children, which is independent of vaccine coverage, lies within the range 11–19 months. We also show that, where the optimal age cannot be met, it is better to err towards late rather than early vaccination. There are therefore two reasons why developing countries, which presently vaccinate during infancy because measles transmission rates are high should eventually switch to the second year of life. The possible gains from two-dose vaccination schedules are explored with respect to both coverage and efficacy. A two-dose schedule will be beneficial, in principle, only when there is a need to increase net vaccine efficacy, after coverage has been maximized with a one-dose schedule.

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Measles vaccination policy

  • B. G. Williams (a1), F. T. Cutts (a2) and C. Dye (a2)


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