Immunogenicity, #effectiveness, and #safety of #measles #vaccination in #infants younger than 9 months: a systematic review and meta-analysis (Lancet Infect Dis., abstract)

[Source: The Lancet Infectious Diseases, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Immunogenicity, effectiveness, and safety of measles vaccination in infants younger than 9 months: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Laura M Nic Lochlainn, PhD, Brechje de Gier, PhD, Nicoline van der Maas, PhD, Peter M Strebel, MBChB, Tracey Goodman, MA, Rob S van Binnendijk, PhD, Hester E de Melker, PhD, Susan J M Hahné, PhD

Open Access / Published: September 20, 2019 / DOI:




Measles is an important cause of death in children, despite the availability of safe and cost-saving measles-containing vaccines (MCVs). The first MCV dose (MCV1) is recommended at 9 months of age in countries with ongoing measles transmission, and at 12 months in countries with low risk of measles. To assess whether bringing forward the age of MCV1 is beneficial, we did a systematic review and meta-analysis of the benefits and risks of MCV1 in infants younger than 9 months.


For this systematic review and meta-analysis, we searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, Scopus, Proquest, Global Health, the WHO library database, and the WHO Institutional Repository for Information Sharing database, and consulted experts. We included randomised and quasi-randomised controlled trials, outbreak investigations, and cohort and case-control studies without restriction on publication dates, in which MCV1 was administered to infants younger than 9 months. We did the literature search on June 2, 2015, and updated it on Jan 14, 2019. We assessed: proportion of infants seroconverted, geometric mean antibody titre, avidity, cellular immunity, duration of immunity, vaccine efficacy, vaccine effectiveness, and safety. We used random-effects models to derive pooled estimates of the endpoints, where appropriate. We assessed methodological quality using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation guidelines.


Our search identified 1156 studies, of which 1071 were screened for eligibility. 351 were eligible for full-text screening, and data from 56 studies that met all inclusion criteria were used for analysis. The proportion of infants who seroconverted increased from 50% (95% CI 29–71) for those vaccinated with MCV1 at 4 months of age to 85% (69–97) for those were vaccinated at 8 months. The pooled geometric mean titre ratio for infants aged 4–8 months vaccinated with MCV1 compared with infants vaccinated with MCV1 at age 9 months or older was 0·46 (95% CI 0·33–0·66; I2=99·9%, p<0·0001). Only one study reported on avidity and suggested that there was lower avidity and a shorter duration of immunity following MCV1 administration at 6 months of age than at 9 months of age (p=0·0016) or 12 months of age (p<0·001). No effect of age at MCV1 administration on cellular immunity was found. One study reported that vaccine efficacy against laboratory-confirmed measles virus infection was 94% (95% CI 74–98) in infants vaccinated with MCV1 at 4·5 months of age. The pooled vaccine effectiveness of MCV1 in infants younger than 9 months against measles was 58% (95% CI 9–80; I2=84·9%, p<0·0001). The pooled vaccine effectiveness estimate from within-study comparisons of infants younger than 9 months vaccinated with MCV1 were 51% (95% CI −44 to 83; I2=92·3%, p<0·0001), and for those aged 9 months and older at vaccination it was 83% (76–88; I2=93·8%, p<0·0001). No differences in the risk of adverse events after MCV1 administration were found between infants younger than 9 months and those aged 9 months of older. Overall, the quality of evidence ranged from moderate to very low.


MCV1 administered to infants younger than 9 months induces a good immune response, whereby the proportion of infants seroconverted increases with increased age at vaccination. A large proportion of infants receiving MCV1 before 9 months of age are protected and the vaccine is safe, although higher antibody titres and vaccine effectiveness are found when MCV1 is administered at older ages. Recommending MCV1 administration to infants younger than 9 months for those at high risk of measles is an important step towards reducing measles-related mortality and morbidity.



Keywords: Measles; Vaccines; Pediatrics.


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Giuseppe Michieli

I am an Italian blogger, active since 2005 with main focus on emerging infectious diseases such as avian influenza, SARS, antibiotics resistance, and many other global Health issues. Other fields of interest are: climate change, global warming, geological and biological sciences. My activity consists mainly in collection and analysis of news, public services updates, confronting sources and making decision about what are the 'signals' of an impending crisis (an outbreak, for example). When a signal is detected, I follow traces during the entire course of an event. I started in 2005 my blog ''A TIME'S MEMORY'', now with more than 40,000 posts and 3 millions of web interactions. Subsequently I added an Italian Language blog, then discontinued because of very low traffic and interest. I contributed for seven years to a public forum ( in the midst of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014, I left the site to continue alone my data tracking job.