Measles was successfully eradicated in the Pan-American Health Region in 2002. However, maintenance of elimination in parts of Africa, Europe, the USA, and other regions is proving difficult, despite apparently high vaccine coverage. This may be due to the different age structure in developed and developing populations, as well as to differences in the duration of maternal immunity. We explore the interaction between maternal immunity and age structure and quantify the resulting immunity gap between vaccine coverage and population immunity; we use this immunity gap as a novel metric of vaccine program success as it highlights the difference between actual and estimated immunity. We find that, for some combinations of maternal immunity and age structure, the accepted herd immunity threshold is not maintainable with a single-dose vaccine strategy for any combination of target age and coverage. In all cases, the herd immunity threshold is more difficult to maintain in a population with developing age structure. True population immunity is always improved if the target age at vaccination is chosen for the specific combination of maternal immunity and age structure.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecological Modeling