Mass vaccination programme aimed at eradication of measles in Sweden

  • B. Christenson


In 1982, a two-dose vaccination programme with the combined vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) was introduced in Sweden [20]. The vaccination coverage was sufficiently high to reduce transmission of these viral infections [1, 2, 4, 5, 7]. The reported incidence of measles decreased from 76 per 10 000 individuals in 1982 to 1.2 per 100 000 in 1988[7]. Vaccination against measles had been introduced in Sweden in 1971 and was offered to children from the age of 18 months. In 1981, reports from child-health centres showed that 56% of all the pre-school children had been vaccinated against measles. In 1982, 88% of the 12-year-olds born in 1970 received the trivalent MMR vaccine. The coverage continued to increase and during 1989 an average of 95% of the children received the trivalent vaccine at both occasions. The vaccination coverage has been sufficiently high to reduce transmission of measles in Sweden. Evaluation of the immune status before and after vaccination is essential for the prevention of infections. At the same time as the vaccination schedule was introduced a vaccination study was started. Each year between 400 and 800 12-year-old school-children were tested on serum samples obtained prior to and after vaccination.

Only minor variations of the prevaccination immunity to measles were seen during the period 3–7 years after introduction of the programme. The age groups studied had partly been vaccinated against measles earlier. Between 12 and 16% lacked prevaccination or natural immunity. The seroconversion rate of children seronegative for measles was high, i.e. 100% in 1985 and later varied between 96 and 97%. During the follow-up period there was a declining incidence of measles, mumps and rubella. The relationship between the vaccination and reduction of disease and natural immunity strongly suggests that the association is causal and that this vaccination policy reduced the transmission of infection.


Vaccination Coverage Measle Virus Measle Vaccine Vaccination Schedule Measle Vaccination 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Christenson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Health and Infectious Diseases ControlKarolinska HospitalStockholmSweden

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