Varicella Disease in Beijing in the Era of Voluntary Vaccination, 2007 to 2010

The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal
August 2013 – Volume 32 – Issue 8  pp: A15-A16,e314-e347,805-929

Varicella Disease in Beijing in the Era of Voluntary Vaccination, 2007 to 2010
Lu, Li; Wang, Chengbin; Suo, Luodan; Li, Juan; Liu, Weixiang; Pang, Xinghuo; Seward, Jane F.
Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal. 32(8):e314-e318, August 2013.
doi: 10.1097/INF.0b013e31828d948b

Background: In China, varicella vaccine has been available in the private sector to children ≥12 months of age since 1998 with a single-dose indication. In December 2006, varicella became a notifiable disease in Beijing. We used surveillance data to describe varicella vaccine uptake from 2005 to 2010 and varicella epidemiology in Beijing from 2007 to 2010.

Methods: Limited sociodemographic and clinical information was available from the passive surveillance system. Varicella vaccine coverage was estimated for each year for children born between 2004 and 2008 using the number of children in the immunization registry of each birth year as the denominator without adjustment for history of varicella.

Results: Vaccine coverage increased within each birth cohort between 2005 and 2010. The coverage at 2 years of age increased from 62.4% in 2005 to 74.1% in 2010 and was 80.4% in children 3–6 years of age in 2010. Between 2007 and 2010, 15,544 to 18,256 varicella cases were reported annually with stable overall incidence (range: 1.0–1.1/1000 persons), but the incidence in children 1–4 years of age decreased significantly from 6.2 per 1000 children in 2007 to 4.4 per 1000 children in 2010 (P < 0.001). Among adults (≥20 years of age), there were significant increases in the number and proportion of cases from 2557 (16.5%) in 2007 to 4277 (23.4%) in 2010 (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Moderately high 1-dose vaccine coverage in young children has been achieved with declining disease incidence, but varicella remains a common, seasonal disease in the population. Current epidemiology suggests that a government-funded varicella vaccine program that includes catch-up vaccination for older children, adolescents and adults needs consideration.