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Vaccine. 1997 Oct;15(14):1538-44.

Twenty years' experience of rubella vaccination in Sweden: 10 years of selective vaccination (of 12-year-old girls and of women postpartum) and 13 years of a general two-dose vaccination.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control, Stockholm, Sweden.


Two different strategies for the prevention of rubella-induced malformations have now been practised in Sweden, both reaching 90% or more of the target populations. The first was initiated in 1973-1974 and targeted schoolgirls, susceptible women after pregnancy and women at special risk. The second programme-a two-dose measles, mumps, rubella vaccination (MMR) of both boys and girls at the ages of 18 months and 12 years-was introduced in 1982. The percentage of susceptible pregnant women was gradually reduced from 12% in 1975 to 2.8% in 1987 and to just below 2% in 1994. The majority of the non immune are unvaccinated, these being either Swedes born before 1963 or immigrants. Before 1974 on average 14 severely rubella damaged children were reported yearly. Between 1975 and 1985 only a mean of two cases per year were recorded. Since 1985 no child with the rubella syndrome has been registered.

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