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Bull World Health Organ. 1991;69(4):415-23.

Duration of immunity following immunization with live measles vaccine: 15 years of observation in Zhejiang Province, China.

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  • 1National Institute for the Control of Pharmaceutical and Biological Products, Temple of Heaven, Beijing, China.


The duration of immunity following measles vaccination of 2882 immunized children has been investigated in a closed region of China for 15 years. A total of 1002 of the children were treated as primary immunization subjects, and 1547 as reimmunization subjects. These two cohorts were not in contact with known wild measles virus over the whole observation period, and the results obtained probably reflected the antibody responses to measles vaccine alone. The remaining 333 vaccinees came into contact with wild measles virus, and this permitted evaluation of the protective effect of the measles vaccines tested: 4 children experienced very mild clinical measles, and 329 experienced subclinical infection, including 12 who had had undetectable haemagglutination-inhibition antibodies for 9-10 years. These results indicate that the immunity induced by successful primary immunization may persist for at least 15 years. Within this period, a second dose of vaccine only induces low antibody responses which decrease rapidly to their original levels. This provides strong evidence that the immunity produced by primary immunization is long-lasting. However, there were some indications that reimmunization might produce better effects if live attenuated measles virus were used with a longer interval between doses.

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