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PLoS One. 2014 Dec 1;9(12):e113538. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0113538. eCollection 2014.

Quantifying the impact of expanded age group campaigns for polio eradication.

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Institute for Disease Modeling, Bellevue, Washington, United States of America.


A priority of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) 2013-2018 strategic plan is to evaluate the potential impact on polio eradication resulting from expanding one or more Supplementary Immunization Activities (SIAs) to children beyond age five-years in polio endemic countries. It has been hypothesized that such expanded age group (EAG) campaigns could accelerate polio eradication by eliminating immunity gaps in older children that may have resulted from past periods of low vaccination coverage. Using an individual-based mathematical model, we quantified the impact of EAG campaigns in terms of probability of elimination, reduction in polio transmission and age stratified immunity levels. The model was specifically calibrated to seroprevalence data from a polio-endemic region: Zaria, Nigeria. We compared the impact of EAG campaigns, which depend only on age, to more targeted interventions which focus on reaching missed populations. We found that EAG campaigns would not significantly improve prospects for polio eradication; the probability of elimination increased by 8% (from 24% at baseline to 32%) when expanding three annual SIAs to 5-14 year old children and by 18% when expanding all six annual SIAs. In contrast, expanding only two of the annual SIAs to target hard-to-reach populations at modest vaccination coverage-representing less than one tenth of additional vaccinations required for the six SIA EAG scenario-increased the probability of elimination by 55%. Implementation of EAG campaigns in polio endemic regions would not improve prospects for eradication. In endemic areas, vaccination campaigns which do not target missed populations will not benefit polio eradication efforts.

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