VoICE Immunization Evidence: Collateral effects on health
Collateral Effects on Health
Administration of measles vaccine has been found to be related with decreased childhood deaths from other causes, above and beyond the expected direct impact of the vaccine on measles.
In a study of data from England & Wales, Denmark, and the US, it was shown that measles infection suppresses the immune system for up to 3 years after infection, increasing the risk of death due to other childhood infections during that time. This means that prevention of measles significantly impacts overall health during critical childhood years.
An analysis in India suggested that children aged 12–59 months who did not receive measles vaccination in infancy were three times more likely to die than those vaccinated against measles. Children from lower caste households who were not vaccinated in infancy had the highest risk of mortality (odds ratio, 8.9). A 27% increase in child mortality was attributable to failure to vaccinate against measles in the study population. Measles vaccine seems to have a non-specific reducing effect on overall child mortality in this population. If true, children in lower castes may reap the greatest gains in survival.
In a 2014 review of the non-specific effects of measles vaccines, among others, the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts indicated that some studies of measles vaccine were suggestive (but not conclusive) of a beneficial effect of measles vaccine on mortality beyond the expected direct effect of the vaccine against measles.
Vaccination may indirectly help prevent certain childhood cancers by priming the body to recognize and destroy tumor cells.
A study including thousands of children from the US state of Texas found that children born in counties with high coverage of HepB, Polio, and Hib vaccines were 33%, 37%, and 42% less likely to develop a specific type of leukemia than children in counties with lower coverage of each vaccine.