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Persistence of measles antibodies, following changes in the recommended age for the second dose of MMR-vaccine in Portugal

Gonçalves, Guilherme, Frade, João, Nunes, Carla, Mesquita, João Rodrigo, Nascimento, Maria São José
Vaccine 2015 v.33 no.39 pp. 5057-5063
antibodies, blood serum, cohort studies, geometry, immunity, immunoglobulin G, vaccination, vaccines, Portugal
In populations vaccinated with two doses of combined measles–mumps–rubella vaccine (MMR), the serum levels of antibodies against measles depend on the vaccination schedule, time elapsed from the last dose and the area-specific epidemiological situation. Variables measuring “schedule” are age at first and second doses of MMR and intervals derived from that. Changes in vaccination schedules have been made in Portugal. The specific objectives of this study were to measure the association between those potential determinants and the concentration of measles-specific IgG antibodies, after the second dose of MMR. Convenience samples of three Portuguese birth cohorts were selected for this study (41, 66 and 60 born, respectively, in 2001–2003, 1990–1993 and 1994–1995). Geometric mean concentrations (GMC) for measles IgG were, respectively, 934, 251 and 144mIU/ml; p<0.001). Anti-measles-IgG serum concentration decreased with time since last vaccination (waning immunity) and was not influenced by any other component of vaccination schedule, namely age at vaccination with the second dose of MMR. Waning levels of measles antibodies have been observed elsewhere but not as fast as it was observed in Portuguese birth cohorts in this study. Changes in the vaccination schedules might have to be considered in the future.