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Expanding the age of eligibility for measles vaccination could increase childhood survival in Africa
Date:8/26/2014

vaccination administration process a focus of the WHO Decade of Vaccines Collaboration.

Using vaccination data from the Demographic Health Surveys, the researchers collected data on when a child had been vaccinated, the child's age and geographic location. These children lived across Africa and were between 9 and 59 months old. Some vaccine delivery ages were approximate because of incomplete data. The researchers also compiled estimates of the distance between these children's homes and the nearest urban center. Their goal was to examine how remoteness affects children's opportunities to receive vaccinations in 26 African countries.

Pulling these two sources together, the researchers built a map linking vaccination coverage with age and geographic isolation. They combined the findings from this with population numbers to determine country-level coverage.

During their analysis, the researchers mathematically explored multiple scenarios: What if rates of coverage improved? What if the lack of coverage due to longer travel times was reduced? Or what if the age range eligible for vaccine administration increased? They quantified what would happen to overall coverage with each of these modifications.

Overall, they found that all of these changes would increase coverage, but the magnitude of their effectiveness would be country specific. Countries in great need of vaccinations would benefit the most if the "rural penalty" was removed, or if the country was simply less remote. But those countries already at 90 percent in terms of measles elimination wouldn't really see a significant increase if those countries if the rural penalty was removed, or if those countries were less remote, since this tended to be small in these locations.

Metcalf explains that to "eliminate" measles, everyone in a population does not need to be vaccinated, but enough have to be vaccinated to achieve what is referred to as herd immunity. The theor
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Contact: B. Rose Huber
brhuber@princeton.edu
609-258-0157
Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs
Source:Eurekalert

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