Epidemiology and Infection
Volume 143 – Issue 07 – May 2015
A probability model for evaluating the bias and precision of influenza vaccine effectiveness estimates from case-control studies
M. HABER, Q. AN, I. M. FOPPA, D. K. SHAY, J. M. FERDINANDS and W. A. ORENSTEIN
As influenza vaccination is now widely recommended, randomized clinical trials are no longer ethical in many populations. Therefore, observational studies on patients seeking medical care for acute respiratory illnesses (ARIs) are a popular option for estimating influenza vaccine effectiveness (VE). We developed a probability model for evaluating and comparing bias and precision of estimates of VE against symptomatic influenza from two commonly used case-control study designs: the test-negative design and the traditional case-control design. We show that when vaccination does not affect the probability of developing non-influenza ARI then VE estimates from test-negative design studies are unbiased even if vaccinees and non-vaccinees have different probabilities of seeking medical care against ARI, as long as the ratio of these probabilities is the same for illnesses resulting from influenza and non-influenza infections. Our numerical results suggest that in general, estimates from the test-negative design have smaller bias compared to estimates from the traditional case-control design as long as the probability of non-influenza ARI is similar among vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. We did not find consistent differences between the standard errors of the estimates from the two study designs.
Transport networks and inequities in vaccination: remoteness shapes measles vaccine coverage and prospects for elimination across Africa
C. J. E. METCALF, A. TATEM, O. N. BJORNSTAD, J. LESSLER, K. O’REILLY, S. TAKAHASHI, F. CUTTS and B.T. GRENFELL
Measles vaccination is estimated to have averted 13•8 million deaths between 2000 and 2012. Persisting heterogeneity in coverage is a major contributor to continued measles mortality, and a barrier to measles elimination and introduction of rubella-containing vaccine. Our objective is to identify determinants of inequities in coverage, and how vaccine delivery must change to achieve elimination goals, which is a focus of the WHO Decade of Vaccines. We combined estimates of travel time to the nearest urban centre (≥50 000 people) with vaccination data from Demographic Health Surveys to assess how remoteness affects coverage in 26 African countries. Building on a statistical mapping of coverage against age and geographical isolation, we quantified how modifying the rate and age range of vaccine delivery affects national coverage. Our scenario analysis considers increasing the rate of delivery of routine vaccination, increasing the target age range of routine vaccination, and enhanced delivery to remote areas. Geographical isolation plays a key role in defining vaccine inequity, with greater inequity in countries with lower measles vaccine coverage. Eliminating geographical inequities alone will not achieve thresholds for herd immunity, indicating that changes in delivery rate or age range of routine vaccination will be required. Measles vaccine coverage remains far below targets for herd immunity in many countries on the African continent and is likely to be inadequate for achieving rubella elimination. The impact of strategies such as increasing the upper age range eligible for routine vaccination should be considered.