Reactive vaccination campaigns prevented a large measles outbreak, saving thousands of cases in a refugee camp

A large measles outbreak of 1,700 cases occurred in the Rohingya refugee population in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh in 2017. In response, two reactive vaccination campaigns delivered the measles and rubella (MR) vaccine to children aged 6 months to 15 years old. This modeling study found that these reactive vaccination campaigns rapidly curbed outbreak transmission, averting an estimated 77,000 measles cases in the refugee camp. This demonstrates that reactive vaccination campaigns can be highly effective in preventing large measles outbreaks in the context of refugee camps, even when prior vaccination rates are low.

Influenza vaccine for pregnant women in Bangladesh led to fewer respiratory illnesses in their infants

Pregnant women in Bangladesh who received the influenza vaccine had elevated levels of anti-influenza antibody in their breast milk. The infants of mothers who received the vaccine during pregnancy had fewer episodes of respiratory illness with fever than the infants of mothers who did not receive the influenza vaccine during pregnancy. Further, exclusive breastfeeding was found to have a protective effect against respiratory illness with fever in infants.

Immunization during pregnancy can increase anti-meningococcal antibodies in breastmilk, providing better protection for infants

The breastmilk of mothers in Bangladesh who received the meningococcal vaccine during pregnancy had anti-meningococcal antibody levels at 3-6 months after delivery of four to five times higher than that of mothers who did not receive the vaccine.

Although this study was published in 2002, the data on this topic are sparse as it is methodologically difficult to conduct studies to evaluate the relationship between anti-meningococcal antibodies in breastmilk and protection.

Early measles vaccination in boys in Bangladesh increased school enrollment by 74%, suggesting immunization’s positive impact on education

A study of the staggered roll-out of measles vaccination in Matlab, Bangladesh, which started in the early 1980s, found that boys vaccinated before 12 months of age were 7.4% more likely to be enrolled in school than boys who were never vaccinated or vaccinated later in childhood, while measles vaccination had no effect on girls’ enrolment in school.

This may suggest that poor health, resulting from complications of measles that can lead to deficits in physical and cognitive development, affected schooling decisions for boys in Bangladesh, but not for girls.

Vaccinating children in high-risk slum areas in Bangladesh can effectively control cholera and save lives

A study using local epidemiological and economic data found that vaccinating children 1-14 years old in high-risk slum areas in Dhaka, Bangladesh using a locally-produced oral cholera vaccine provided through periodic campaigns would be a highly cost-effective means of controlling endemic cholera — reducing cholera incidence in the entire population by 45% over 10 years and costing US$440-635 per DALY averted. Vaccinating all persons aged one and above would reduce incidence much further (by 91%) but would be less cost-effective.