New findings support the introduction of mandatory measles vaccination at school entry in the UK.
In a study, published in BMC Medicine, researchers in Italy simulated the evolution of measles immunity profiles in seven countries (Australia, Ireland, Italy, Singapore, South Korea, the US and the UK) for the period 2018-2050 and evaluated the effect of possible adjustments of immunisation strategies on the overall fraction and age distribution of susceptible individuals in different high-income demographic settings. The model accounted for country-specific demographic components, current immunity gaps and immunisation activities in 2018.
The model suggested that, under current vaccination policies, only Singapore and South Korea would be successful in maintaining the fraction of the population susceptible to measles below the measles elimination threshold of 7.5 per cent up to 2050.
In the UK, Ireland, the USA and Australia, in order to achieve the target, either the coverage of routine programmes needs to increase to above 95 per cent or compulsory vaccination at school entry should be implemented, with coverage above 40 per cent.
Commenting on the findings, co-author Dr Stefano Merler added: “Our results suggest that most of the countries we have studied would strongly benefit from the introduction of compulsory vaccination at school entry in addition to current immunisation programmes. In particular, we found that this strategy would allow the UK, Ireland and the US to reach stable herd immunity levels in the next decades.”