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This article is part of the supplement: The fallacy of coverage: uncovering disparities to improve immunization rates through evidence. The Canadian International Immunization Initiative Phase 2 (CIII2) Operational Research Grants

Open Access Research

Knowledge synthesis of benefits and adverse effects of measles vaccination: the Lasbela balance sheet

Robert J Ledogar1*, John Fleming1 and Neil Andersson2

Author Affiliations

1 CIETinternational, 511 Avenue of the Americas #132, New York, NY, USA

2 Centro de Investigación de Enfermedades Tropicales (CIET), Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero, Calle Pino, Acapulco, Mexico

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BMC International Health and Human Rights 2009, 9(Suppl 1):S6  doi:10.1186/1472-698X-9-S1-S6

Published: 14 October 2009

Abstract

Background

In preparation for a cluster-randomized controlled trial of a community intervention to increase the demand for measles vaccination in Lasbela district of Pakistan, a balance sheet summarized published evidence on benefits and possible adverse effects of measles vaccination.

Methods

The balance sheet listed: 1) major health conditions associated with measles; 2) the risk among the unvaccinated who contract measles; 3) the risk among the vaccinated; 4) the risk difference between vaccinated and unvaccinated; and 5) the likely net gain from vaccination for each condition.

Results

Two models revealed very different projections of net gain from measles vaccine. A Lasbela-specific combination of low period prevalence of measles among the unvaccinated, medium vaccination coverage and low vaccine efficacy rate, as revealed by the baseline survey, resulted in less-than-expected gains attributable to vaccination. Modelled on estimates where the vaccine had greater efficacy, the gains from vaccination would be more substantial.

Conclusion

Specific local conditions probably explain the low rates among the unvaccinated while the high vaccine failure rate is likely due to weaknesses in the vaccination delivery system. Community perception of these realities may have had some role in household decisions about whether to vaccinate, although the major discouraging factor was inadequate access. The balance sheet may be useful as a communication tool in other circumstances, applied to up-to-date local evidence.