Bruno Kessler Foundation
Our model shows that, under current vaccination policies, the susceptible fraction of the population would remain below measles elimination threshold only in Singapore and South Korea. In the UK, Ireland, the USA and Australia either the increase of coverage of routine programmes above 95% or the introduction of a compulsory vaccination at school entry with coverage above 40% are needed to maintain susceptible individuals below 7.5% up to 2050. Although the implementation of mandatory vaccination at school entry would be surely beneficial in Italy, strategies targeting adults would also be required to avoid future outbreaks in this country.
We simulated the evolution of measles immunity profiles in seven distinct countries for the period 2018-2050 and evaluated the effect of possible adjustments of immunisation strategies adopted in the past on the overall fraction and age distribution of susceptible individuals in different high-income demographic settings. The proposed model accounts for country-specific demographic components, current immunity gaps and immunisation activities in 2018. Vaccination strategies considered include the enhancement of coverage for routine programmes already in place and the introduction of a compulsory vaccination at primary school entry in countries where universal school enrolment is likely achieved.
Current vaccination policies are not sufficient to achieve and maintain measles elimination in most countries. Strategies targeting unvaccinated children before they enter primary school can remarkably enhance the fulfilment of WHO targets.
In recent years, we witnessed a resurgence of measles even in countries where, according to WHO guidelines, elimination should have already been achieved. In high-income countries, the raise of anti-vaccination movements and parental vaccine hesitancy are posing major challenges for the achievement and maintenance of high coverage during routine programmes. Italy and France approved new regulations, respectively in 2017 and 2018, aimed at raising immunisation rates among children by introducing mandatory vaccination at school entry.