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J Infect Dis. 2011 Jul;204 Suppl 1:S28-34. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jir095.

Strategic planning for measles control: using data to inform optimal vaccination strategies.

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  • 1Expanded Programme on Immunization, Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals, World Health Organization, 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland.



In response to repeated requests for assistance in evaluating the health benefit and cost implications of adjustments to national measles immunization strategies, the World Health Organization (WHO) has developed the Measles Strategic Planning (MSP) tool to harness routinely available data to estimate effectiveness and cost effectiveness of vaccination strategies.


The MSP tool estimates measles incidence and mortality through a country-specific cohort model, using a probability of infection dependent on population immunity levels. This method approximates measles transmission dynamics without requiring detailed data that would prohibit use in low- and middle-income countries. Coupled with cost data, the tool estimates incremental costs and cost effectiveness of user-defined vaccination strategies over 5-10 year planning periods.


The MSP tool produces valid estimates of measles incidence in settings with low to moderate vaccination coverage. Early adopters report that the tool facilitates decision making by minimizing the amount of time required to assess the impact of vaccination strategies on population immunity.


By clearly illustrating what vaccination strategies can effectively protect against measles at the least cost to immunization programs, the MSP tool supports evidence-based decision making for effective and comprehensive measles control.

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