Volume 29, Issue 15 pp. 2649-2822 (24 March 2011)
Herd immunity after two years of the universal mass vaccination program against rotavirus gastroenteritis in Austria Original Research Article
Maria Paulke-Korinek, Michael Kundi, Pamela Rendi-Wagner, Alfred de Martin, Gerald Eder, Birgit Schmidle-Loss, Andreas Vecsei, Herwig Kollaritsch
Austria was the first country in Europe implementing a universal mass vaccination program against rotavirus gastroenteritis (RV-GE) for all infants nationwide. Epidemiological data from a hospital based surveillance system show that incidence rates of children hospitalized with RV-GE decreased in 2009 compared to 2008 and compared to the prevaccination period 2001–2005. Decreasing hospitalization-rates from RV-GE were observed in children of all age groups, even in those not eligible for vaccination according to their age, suggesting herd immunity induced by universal mass vaccination against RV-GE. In 2009 the disease burden was highest in children below three months of age stressing the importance of the early start of the immunization course.