Sudfeld, C.R., A.M. Navar, and N.A. Halsey, Effectiveness of measles vaccination and vitamin A treatment. Int J Epidemiol, 2010. 39 Suppl 1: p. i48-55.
The current strategy utilized by WHO/United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to reach the Global Immunization Vision and Strategy 2010 measles reduction goal includes increasing coverage of measles vaccine, vitamin A treatment and supplementation in addition to offering two doses of vaccine to all children.
We conducted a systematic review of published randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and quasi-experimental (QE) studies in order to determine effect estimates of measles vaccine and vitamin A treatment for the Lives Saved Tool (LiST). We utilized a standardized abstraction and grading format in order to determine effect estimates for measles mortality employing the standard Child Health Epidemiology Research Group Rules for Evidence Review.
We identified three measles vaccine RCTs and two QE studies with data on prevention of measles disease. A meta-analysis of these studies found that vaccination was 85% [95% confidence interval (CI) 83–87] effective in preventing measles disease, which will be used as a proxy for measles mortality in LiST for countries vaccinating before one year of age. The literature also suggests that a conservative 95% effect estimate is reasonable to employ when vaccinating at 1 year or later and 98% for two doses of vaccine based on serology reviews. We included six high-quality RCTs in the meta-analysis of vitamin A treatment of measles which found no significant reduction in measles morality. However, when stratifying by vitamin A treatment dose, at least two doses were found to reduce measles mortality by 62% (95% CI 19–82).
Measles vaccine and vitamin A treatment are effective interventions to prevent measles mortality in children.