Post-Exposure Effects of Vaccines on Infectious Diseases.


Many available vaccines have demonstrated post-exposure effectiveness, but no published systematic reviews have synthesized these findings. We searched the PubMed database for clinical trials and observational human studies concerning the post-exposure vaccination effects, targeting infections with Food and Drug Administration licensed vaccine plus dengue, hepatitis E, malaria, and tick borne encephalitis, which have licensed vaccines outside of the U.S. Studies concerning animal models, serologic testing, and pipeline vaccines were excluded. Eligible studies were evaluated by definition of exposure, and their attempt at distinguishing pre- and post-exposure effects was rated on a scale of 1-4. We screened 4518 articles and ultimately identified 14 clinical trials and 31 observational studies for this review, amounting to 45 eligible articles spanning 7 of the 28 vaccine-preventable diseases. For secondary attack rate, this body of evidence found the following medians for post-exposure vaccination effectiveness: hepatitis A: 85% (IQR: 28; 5 sources), hepatitis B: 85% (IQR: 22; 5 sources), measles: 83% (IQR: 21; 8 sources), varicella: 67% (IQR: 48; 9 sources), smallpox: 45% (IQR: 39; 4 sources), and mumps: 38% (IQR: 7; 2 sources). For case fatality proportions resulting from rabies and smallpox, the vaccine efficacies had medians of 100% (IQR: 0; 6 sources) and 63% (IQR: 50; 8 sources) postexposure. Although mainly used for preventive measures, many available vaccines can modify or preclude disease if administered after exposure. This post-exposure effectiveness could be important to consider during vaccine trials and while developing new vaccines.

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