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Iran J Med Sci. 2012 September; 37(3): 214–215.
PMCID: PMC3470084

Mass Measles Vaccination

Dear Editor,

I read the paper “mass measles vaccination campaign in Aila Cyclone-affected areas of West Bengal, India” by Malik and colleagues published in the December, 2011 issue of IJMS. The paper described a program of mass measles vaccination that was a good experience for health authorities.1 However, some issues should be considered in health policies for the prevention of measles. Measles is a highly contagious respiratory viral infection, and despite available vaccine, it causes a high mortality in developing countries.1,2 There was an outbreak of measles in Iran in 2003, and more than 11,000 measles patients, some of whom were adult with threatening infection, were located.2 More than 33 million of people with an age range of 5-25 years were vaccinated. The vaccination led to protection against measles in 98.6% of subjects. This led to reduction of the prevalence of the disease to zero except for few cases of immigrants from neighboring countries.3 After the mass vaccination, children have been vaccinated routinely against measles, and there has been no need for vaccination outside of Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) program.4

The principal reasons for outbreak of measles even in disasters include inadequate vaccination coverage, which leads to inadequate immunity against the disease,5-7 loose adherence to the vaccine cold chain,6 vaccination in the early age (less than 6 months),7 and type of vaccine.7

The ineffectiveness of mass vaccination program against measles in India reported by Mallik and colleagues 1 might be related to early age of the participants (less than six months), shortage of funds and financial support, inadequate coverage (they had 70% coverage, whereas it should be more than 95%), destruction of public infrastructure by disaster (cyclone), and lack of pilot study to establish immunity against measles.

Conflict of interest: none declared


1. Mallik S, Mandal PK, Ghosh P, Manna N, Chatterjee Ch, Chakrabarty D, et al. Mass Measles Vaccination Campaign in Aila Cyclone-Affected Areas of West Bengal, India: An In-depth Analysis and Experiences. IJMS. 2011;36:300–5. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
2. Zahraei SM, Gouya MM, Azad TM, Soltanshahi R, Sabouri A, Naouri B, et al. Successful control and impending elimination of measles in the Islamic Republic of Iran. J Infect Dis. 2011;204:S305–11. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jir076. PubMed PMID: 21666178. [PubMed]
3. Ghorbani Gh. Evaluation of anti measles IgG prior to mass vaccination in soldiers in Iran. J Med Sci. 2006;6:498–501.
4. Esteghamati A, Gouya MM, Zahraei SM, Dadras MN, Rashidi A, Mahoney F. Progress in measles and rubella elimination in Iran. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2007;26:1137–41. doi: 10.1097/INF.0b013e3181462090. PubMed PMID: 18043452. [PubMed]
5. Sever AE, Rainey JJ, Zell ER, Hennessey K, Uzicanin A, Castillo-Solórzano C, et al. Measles elimination in the Americas: a comparison between countries with a one-dose and two-dose routine vaccination schedule. J Infect Dis. 2011;204 Suppl 2:S748–55. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jir445. PubMed PMID: 21954277. [PubMed]
6. Ghorbani Gh, Jonaidi N, Ahmadi K, Mehrabi TavanaA, Ali ShiriGh.H. Prevalence of Antimeasles Antibody in the Serum of Military Students after Mass Vaccination in Iran. RJMS. 2007;13:149–154. [In Persian]
7. Pourabbas B, Ziyaeyan M, Alborzi A, Mardaneh J. Efficacy of measles and rubella vaccination one year after the nationwide campaign in Shiraz, Iran. Int J Infect Dis. 2008;12:43–6. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2007.03.013. PubMed PMID: 17950020. [PubMed]

Articles from Iranian Journal of Medical Sciences are provided here courtesy of Shiraz University of Medical Sciences