Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Swedish experience of two dose vaccination programme aiming at eliminating measles, mumps, and rubella.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987; 295 doi: (Published 14 November 1987) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987;295:1264
  1. M Böttiger,
  2. B Christenson,
  3. V Romanus,
  4. J Taranger,
  5. A Strandell
  1. Department of Epidemiology, National Bacteriological Laboratory, Stockholm, Sweden.


    In 1982 a two dose regimen was introduced in Sweden for the combined vaccination against measles, mumps, and rubella of children aged 18 months and 12 years. Since 1977 about half of the preschool children were vaccinated against measles annually, and since 1974 about 80% of 12 year old girls were vaccinated against rubella. During the period 1982 to 1985 90-93% of the eligible age cohorts of 18 month old children and 88-91% of the 12 year old children were immunised with the new combined vaccine. A study in 1982 of about 140 18 month old children who were nearly all seronegative before vaccination showed that 96%, 92%, and 99% seroconverted against measles, mumps, and rubella, respectively. A second study was carried out in 1983 of 247 12 year old children, of whom 11% lacked antibodies to measles, 27% to mumps, and 45% to rubella. This showed seroconversion in 82% and 80% against measles and mumps, respectively, and all children seroconverted against rubella. In the latest study in 1985 of 496 12 year olds 9% and 13% were seronegative against measles and mumps before vaccination, and 41% against rubella. Of these, 88% seroconverted to measles and 80% to mumps, and all converted to rubella when sera were tested by the haemolysis in gel method. After a neutralisation test against measles as well all children showed immunity to the disease. A low incidence of measles and declining figures for mumps and rubella were reported in 1984 to 1986. An outbreak of rubella during 1985 affected mainly boys in age cohorts in which only the girls had been vaccinated during the 1970s.