Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Triangulation of measles vaccination data in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Michael Edelstein, Joanne White, Antoaneta Bukasa, Vanessa Saliba & Mary Ramsay

Objective

To illustrate how data triangulation involving routine data sources can optimize data usage and provide insights into vaccine programme effectiveness by considering measles vaccination and disease incidence data in England.

Methods

We obtained data on measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine coverage in birth cohorts from 1985 to 2016 from child health records and adjusted for under-ascertainment and catch-up campaigns. We assumed that the population had no natural immunity and that vaccine effectiveness was 95% for one dose and 99.75% for two doses. Vaccinations done outside the routine schedule and in people who entered England after the age of immunization were identified from primary care records. Measles susceptibility was defined as the percentage of individuals who were not immune despite all vaccination activities. We triangulated measles susceptibility and incidence data.

Findings

Median susceptibility was 4.6% (range: 1.2–9.2). Among cohorts eligible for two MMR vaccine doses, those born between 1998 and 2004 were most susceptible. Measles incidence was highest in these cohorts. Data from primary care and child health records were comparable for cohorts after 2000, suggesting that little supplementary vaccination took place. For cohorts before 2000, primary care data quality was insufficient for accurately estimating coverage.

Conclusion

Triangulating routine data on measles vaccination coverage and disease surveillance provided new insights into population immunity and helped identify vulnerable groups, which was useful for prioritizing public health actions to close gaps in immunity. This approach could be applied in any country that routinely records vaccine coverage and disease incidence.