Giving children an additional dose of rotavirus vaccine when they are nine months old would provide only a modest improvement in the vaccine’s effectiveness in low-income countries concerned about waning protection against the highly contagious disease, according to a new study led by the Yale School of Public Health and the Institute of Infection and Global Health at the University of Liverpool.
Rotavirus vaccines have had a substantial impact on reducing incidence of rotavirus-associated gastroenteritis or RVGE in high- and middle-income countries. The vaccines’ impact in low-income countries has been less defined. The vast majority of rotavirus deaths occur in Asia and Africa.
In response to concerns about the vaccines’ effectiveness , a team of researchers led by associate professor, Dr. Virginia Pitzer, of the Yale School of Public Health a conducted a detailed mathematical analysis of rotavirus vaccinations and diarrhea cases reported at the main hospital in Blantyre, Malawi, a low-income country in southeastern Africa that introduced rotavirus vaccine in 2012.
With access to 12 years of pre-vaccination and 5 years of post-vaccination data acquired through the Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme in Blantyre, Malawi, the researchers investigated the magnitude and duration of current vaccine protection and the potential waning of vaccine-induced immunity that was being reported. “Our analysis revealed that lower vaccine effectiveness during the second year of life is not necessarily indicative of waning rotavirus vaccine protection,” said Dr. Pitzer, an expert in the epidemiology of microbial diseases in the Yale School of Public Health’s public health modeling unit.
The study findings can be found online today, Aug. 14, in the journal Science Translational Medicine.Tags: Friday Letter Submission, Publish on August 23