Effectiveness of a mass immunization campaign against serogroup C meningococci in children in the Federal State of Santa Catarina, Brazil


Brazilian Journal of Infectious Diseases




In addition to vaccine efficacy studies, there is a pressing need to evaluate vaccine effectiveness in a way that takes into account the limitations of health care systems in certain settings. An attempt to reach this objective was exemplified by a vaccination campaign against serogroup C meningococci in the federal state of Santa Catarina, in Brazil. A polysaccharide vaccine against serogroup C meningococci was administered to all individuals between 6 months and 14 years of age in March, 1996, in the municipalities that had the highest incidence of meningococcal disease in the previous year. All cases of the disease due to this serogroup observed in Santa Catarina during a 1-year period before and after the vaccination were included in the analysis. The cumulative incidence rate ratio was calculated for the unvaccinated compared to the vaccinated area. As a second step, the ratio of this quantity for the period before and after the vaccination, i.e. the ratio of the rate ratios (RRR), was calculated. One minus RRR was used to estimate the vaccine effectiveness. In the general population, the vaccine effectiveness was 74.3% (95% confidence intervals 52.7% to 99.6%). In children 6 months to 14 years, vaccine effectiveness was 93.1% (85.2% to 100%). Vaccine effectiveness could not be confirmed within more specific age bands, probably due to the lack of statistical power. It is concluded that group C meningococcal vaccine is effective in reducing the occurrence of meningococcal disease in children 6 months to 14 years of age, and that the ratio of rate ratios (RRR) in a useful method to evaluate vaccine effectiveness.

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