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Two-dose measles vaccine effectiveness remains high over time: A French observational study, 2017-20


Franconeri L., Antona D., Cauchemez S., Lévy-Bruhl D., Paireau J.


Background From 2008 to 2019, France has experienced a resurgence of measles epidemics. Surveillance data have shown that the proportion of cases vaccinated with two doses of measles-containing vaccine (MCV) increased with age, raising concerns about the duration of vaccine protection. Our objectives were to investigate age-stratified vaccine effectiveness (VE) for the second dose of MCV (MCV2) and to quantify protection levels over time.

Methods We analyzed data on measles cases aged 2–31 years, reported via mandatory notification to the French measles surveillance system from October 2017 to September 2019. We estimated an age-stratified VE for MCV2 using the screening method, which compares the vaccination status of cases with that of the general population. We improved this method by accounting for natural immunity, exploring four scenarios with four possible levels of natural immunity in the population. In addition, we quantified the decay rate of protection over time, by fitting an exponential decay model among individuals vaccinated in early life.

Results In the baseline analysis (absence of natural immunity), VE estimates were high in all age groups and decreased with age, from 99.6 % (95 % confidence interval: 99.3–99.8) in 2–5 years old to 91.4 % (85.1–95.0) in 26–31 years old. Accounting for natural immunity increased VE in the older age group to 93.2–99.2 % depending on the scenario. We estimated that VE was slowly decreasing over time, with an exponential decay rate of 0.0022/year (0.0017–0.0028), leading to VE of 96.7 % (96.0–97.4) 16 years after MCV2 vaccination. This decline was most compatible with scenario 2, a scenario of 4.4 % naturally immunized, non-vaccinated individuals in the 26–31 years old.

Conclusion Our study confirms the continued high effectiveness of two doses of MCV with only slight degradation, decades after immunization. These findings support the importance of achieving a very high vaccination coverage with 2 doses of MCV.

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