Universal mass vaccination according to a 2-dose measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine schedule is recommended by the World Health Organization and is fundamental to the control of these important diseases. Very high coverage (first dose, ≥95%; second dose, ≥80%) is necessary to achieve and sustain high population immunity, and eventually interrupt indigenous transmission of these diseases. In 2006, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices issued a recommendation for 2 doses of varicella vaccine to be given universally to children. Coadministration of MMR and varicella vaccines, though efficacious and well tolerated, can be difficult because of the 2 separate injections and associated compliance issues. In addition to the general advantages of a combined vaccine, recently registered measles-mumps-rubella-varicella (MMRV) vaccines could facilitate introduction of varicella universal mass vaccination by simplifying administration and providing the potential to achieve high coverage rates for these 4 diseases.
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From the *University of Tampere Medical School, Tampere, Finland; †Fundamental Virology Unit, University of Liège, Liege, Belgium; and ‡Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY.
Accepted for publication March 22, 2007.
GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals provided an unrestricted educational grant in support of this publication.
Address for correspondence: Prof. Timo Vesikari, University of Tampere Medical School, FIN-33014, University of Tampere, Finland; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.