2.3 Immunization strategies

2.3.1 Routine vaccination

Measles vaccination is included in all national immunization programmes. Routine vaccination is usually done at fixed sites and outreach sites and by mobile teams.

Fixed site

Regular immunization activities are conducted by the health care facility personnel, who have a refrigerator. This is assumed to cover the population within a radius of 5 km of the fixed site.

Outreach site

Regular and scheduled immunization activities are conducted by health care facility personnel, who travel with a passive cold chain (vaccine carriers). The outreach strategy can cover populations living from 5 to 15 km from the health care facility.

Mobile team

Scheduled immunization activities are conducted by mobile teams that travel around according to a pre-set schedule. Substantial resources are made available for transportation, for vaccine storage (cold boxes and vaccine carriers) and for training the teams. This strategy requires careful organization and informing the remote populations that one wants to reach (> 15 km) beforehand.

2.3.2 Mass vaccination campaign

Vaccination campaigns are one-off activities that allow a large number of people to be immunized in a short period of time by setting up multiple vaccination sites.

They are done as a preventive measure as part of catch-up campaigns or when the risk of an outbreak is high (e.g. displaced populations), or as a response when an outbreak has been detected.

The campaigns mobilise a lot of personnel and resources, and require good coordination between partners.

Catch-up campaign

The purpose of catch-up campaigns is to give children a second dose of vaccine and to “catch up with” children who did not receive routine vaccination. They are scheduled and conducted every 2 to 4 years as part of the international measles control programme.

Outbreak response campaign

The outbreak response campaign is one component of epidemic management. Its aim is to limit the spread of the epidemic by vaccinating the entire at-risk population as quickly as possible.