Children receiving the measles vaccine before or with their DTP vaccine had a 2-fold higher mortality rate.

Children receiving the measles vaccine before or with their DTP vaccine had a 2-fold higher mortality rate.


BMJ Open. 2019 Sep 5 ;9(9):e024893. Epub 2019 Sep 5. PMID: 31492774

Abstract Title: 

Out-of-sequence DTP and measles vaccinations and child mortality in Guinea-Bissau: a reanalysis.


OBJECTIVES: To assess whether the sequence of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine (DTP) and measles vaccine (MV) was associated with child survival in a dataset previously used to assess non-specific effects of vaccines with no consideration of vaccination sequence.DESIGN: Prospective cohort study analysed using the landmark approach.SETTING: Bandim Health Project's Health and Demographic Surveillance System covering 100 village clusters in rural Guinea-Bissau. The recommended vaccination schedule was BCG and oral polio vaccine (OPV) at birth, DTP and OPV at 6, 10 and 14 weeks, MV at 9 months and booster DTP and OPV at 18 months of age.PARTICIPANTS: Children aged 9-17 months (main analysis) and 18-35 months (secondary analysis: age of booster DTP) with vaccination status assessed between April 1991 and April 1996.METHODS: Survival during the 6 months after assessing vaccination status was compared by vaccination sequence in Cox-proportional hazards models with age as underlying time. Analyses were stratified by sex and village cluster.MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Mortality rate ratio (MRR) for out-of-sequence vaccinations compared with in-sequence vaccinations.RESULTS: Among children aged 9-17 months, 60% of observations (3574/5937) were from children who had received both MV and DTP. Among these, 1590 observations were classified as in-sequence vaccinations (last DTP before MV), and 1984 observations were out-of-sequence vaccinations (1491: MV with DTP and 493: MV before DTP). Out-of-sequence vaccinations were associated with higher mortality than in-sequence vaccinations (MRR 2.10, 95% CI 1.07 to 4.11); the MRR was 2.30 (95% CI 1.15 to 4.58) for MV with DTP and 1.45 (95% CI 0.50 to 4.22) for DTP after MV. Associations were similar for boys and girls (p=0.77). Between 18 and 35 months the mortality rate increased among children vaccinated in-sequence and the differential effect of out-of-sequence vaccinations disappeared.CONCLUSION: Out-of-sequence vaccinations may increase child mortality. Hence, sequence of vaccinations should be considered when planning vaccination programmes or introducing new vaccines into the current vaccination schedule.

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