A random cluster survey and a convenience sample give comparable estimates of immunity to vaccine preventable diseases in children of school age in Victoria, Australia

Vaccine. 2002 Aug 19;20(25-26):3130-6. doi: 10.1016/s0264-410x(02)00255-4.


We compared estimates of the age-specific population immunity to measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B and varicella zoster viruses in Victorian school children obtained by a national sero-survey, using a convenience sample of residual sera from diagnostic laboratories throughout Australia, with those from a three-stage random cluster survey. When grouped according to school age (primary or secondary school) there was no significant difference in the estimates of immunity to measles, mumps, hepatitis B or varicella. Compared with the convenience sample, the random cluster survey estimated higher immunity to rubella in samples from both primary (98.7% versus 93.6%, P = 0.002) and secondary school students (98.4% versus 93.2%, P = 0.03). Despite some limitations, this study suggests that the collection of a convenience sample of sera from diagnostic laboratories is an appropriate sampling strategy to provide population immunity data that will inform Australia's current and future immunisation policies.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood*
  • Antibodies, Viral / immunology
  • Blood Specimen Collection / economics
  • Chickenpox / prevention & control
  • Child
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Data Collection / economics
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Female
  • Health Policy
  • Health Surveys
  • Hepatitis B / prevention & control
  • Hepatitis B Antibodies / blood
  • Hepatitis B Antibodies / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunization Programs*
  • Male
  • Measles / prevention & control
  • Measles virus / immunology
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine*
  • Mumps / prevention & control
  • Mumps virus / immunology
  • Random Allocation
  • Rubella virus / immunology
  • Sampling Studies
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Vaccination
  • Victoria / epidemiology


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Hepatitis B Antibodies
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine