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Secondary failure rates of measles vaccines: a metaanalysis of published studies

ANDERS, JENNIFER F. MD; JACOBSON, ROBERT M. MD; POLAND, GREGORY A. MD; JACOBSEN, STEVEN J. MD, PHD; WOLLAN, PETER C. PHD

The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal: January 1996 - Volume 15 - Issue 1 - p 62-66
Original Studies
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Background Recent measles outbreaks in highly vaccinated populations have highlighted the role of vaccine failure as a barrier to the elimination of measles. We sought to estimate the rate of secondary failure (clinical measles after vaccine-induced seroconversion) of measles vaccines using metaanalysis.

Methods We identified 1411 studies of which 125 were relevant. From these we found 10 original studies of healthy subjects with sufficient details to calculate a pooled secondary failure rate. We performed a test for homogeneity before any pooling.

Results Although significant heterogeneity prevented their pooling as a single group, the studies fell into three homogeneous groups suitable for pooling. Group A studies used killed vaccine whereas the other two groups (Groups B and C) of studies used live vaccine. These latter groups differ in that the studies in Group B share higher failure rates and are difficult to interpret with respect to the lack of verification of vaccination, immunization before 12 months of age and a non-North American study site and vaccine manufacturer. Those studies in Group C, in which US subjects were older than 12 months at vaccination and received a live US-manufactured vaccine that was documented in a medical record, had a failure rate of 0 of 2031 with a 95% confidence interval of 0.0 to 0.147%.

Conclusions Although reports of measles related to secondary failure exist, studies that permit the calculation of the rate of secondary failure demonstrate that the rate appears to be <0.02%.

From the Mayo Medical School and Mayo Vaccine Research Group, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.

Accepted for publication Oct. 9, 1995.

Address for reprints: Robert M. Jacobson, M.D., Mayo Clinic-Desk BA3B, 200 First St. S. W., Rochester, MN 55905. Fax 507-284-9744; E-mail jacobson.robert@mayo.edu.

© Williams & Wilkins 1996. All Rights Reserved.