Open Access Research article

Timely measles vaccination in Tianjin, China: a cross-sectional study of immunization records and mothers

Abram L Wagner1*, Ying Zhang2, JoLynn P Montgomery1, Yaxing Ding2, Bradley F Carlson1 and Matthew L Boulton1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, 1415 Washington Heights, M5020 SPH II, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA

2 Division of Expanded Programs on Immunization, Tianjin Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Tianjin 300011, China

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BMC Public Health 2014, 14:888  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-888

Published: 29 August 2014



Measles is a highly infectious disease, and timely administration of two doses of vaccine can ensure adequate protection against measles for all ages in a population. This study aims to estimate the proportion of children aged 8 months to 6 years vaccinated on time with measles-containing vaccines (MCV) and vaccinated during the 2008 and 2010 measles supplementary immunization activities. This study also characterizes differences in mean age at vaccination and vaccination timeliness by demographic characteristics, and describes maternal knowledge of measles vaccination.


Immunization records were selected from a convenience sample of immunization clinics in Tianjin, China. From the records, overall vaccination coverage and timely vaccination coverage were calculated for different demographic groups. Mothers were also interviewed at these clinics to ascertain their knowledge of measles vaccination.


Within the 329 immunization clinic records, child’s birth year and district of residence were found to be significant predictors of different measures of vaccine timeliness. Children born in 2009 had a lower age at MCV dose 2 administration (17.96 months) than children born in 2005 (22.00 months). Children living in Hebei, a district in the urban center of Tianjin were less likely to be vaccinated late than children living in districts further from the urban core of Tianjin. From the 31 interviews with mothers, most women believed that timely vaccination was very important and more than one dose was very necessary; most did not know whether their child needed another dose.


When reviewing MCV coverage in China, most studies do not consider timeliness. However, this study shows that overall vaccination coverage can greatly overestimate vaccination coverage within certain segments of the population, such as young infants.

China; Measles; Measles vaccine; Measles-mumps-rubella vaccine; Vaccination knowledge; Vaccination timeliness; Supplementary immunization activities