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Vaccine. 1995 Dec;13(18):1759-62.

Immunity to rubella before and after vaccination against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) at 12 years of age of the first generation offered MMR vaccination in Sweden at 18 months.

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  • Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control, Epidemological Department, Stockholm, Sweden.


In 1982, a two-dose programme of vaccination against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) at the ages of 18 months and 12 years was introduced in Sweden. In 1992-3, the first group of children vaccinated at 18 months reached the age of 12, i.e. the time for a second dose. In connection with this 12-year vaccination, 376 children were recruited, investigated concerning earlier MMR vaccination and bled prior to and 2 months after the immunization. Two hundred and twenty of them had a documented, earlier MMR vaccination and 156 had not. The latter were classified as unvaccinated. The antibody status against rubella was measured by the haemolysis-in-gel method. Prior to the present vaccination, 3% of the earlier vaccinated group totally lacked any sign of antibodies. In the presumably unvaccinated group, this figure was 76%. After the vaccination all children showed signs of antibody activity and reached the antibody level of > or = 15 international units, i.e. in our tests a zone dia. of approx 8 mm. However, the secondly vaccinated children ended up with a mean antibody level of 10.7 mm which was slightly lower than the level, i.e. 11.0 mm of those lacking earlier vaccination history and prevaccination seronegative. The earlier unvaccinated but pre-immune children reached a mean level of 11.2 mm. In general, those with relatively high, pre-vaccination, antibody levels reacted less to the booster than those with low or no pre-vaccination immunity. The booster thus appeared to restore the antibody levels of the low-titre children.

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