WHO issues position on measles vaccines in routine immunization programmes
Today WHO recommended ― in its revised position paper published in the Weekly Epidemiological Record ― vaccination of all children with two doses of measles vaccine as the standard for all national immunization programmes. The second dose can be administered through routine services or given periodically through mass vaccination campaigns to defined age groups. Measles virus is highly infectious, and in the absence of vaccination around 90% of children would suffer infection by ten years of age. Measles can be prevented by vaccination with a safe and effective vaccine. It is often incorporated with rubella, mumps and varicella (chickenpox) vaccines and is equally effective in the single or combined form. In 2007, an estimated 82% of the world's children received one dose of measles vaccine by their first birthday and about 197 000 people, mostly children under the age of five, died from measles. To eliminate measles, countries need to reach at least 95% nationwide coverage with two doses of measles vaccine. To achieve reduction of measles mortality, vaccination coverage should reach at least 90% at the national level and 80% in each district.