MMR vaccination and disease elimination: the Finnish experience

Expert Rev Vaccines. 2010 Sep;9(9):1045-53. doi: 10.1586/erv.10.99.


Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccinations have been included in Finland's national vaccination program as a two-dose schedule since 1982. Owing to the high (>95%) coverage of vaccinations, indigenous MMR diseases were eliminated from Finland by the mid-1990s. In 1982, the incidence of measles, mumps and rubella was 105, 43 and 64 per 100,000 population, respectively, but declined to 0.1 per 100,000 population for all MMR diseases in 1995. Since then, the few cases of measles, mumps and rubella imported annually have not caused any outbreaks. Several research projects that started along with the vaccination campaign have provided important support throughout the program. The vaccine was proven to be safe, immunogenic and effective. Antibody follow-up has revealed that MMR vaccine-induced antibodies wane over time, and concerns have arisen about the continuation of this good situation. High vaccination coverage, enhanced surveillance and preparedness to administer additional doses when needed are key factors for future success. Here we present an overview of MMR vaccinations and the Finnish experience of the MMR disease elimination process, and we describe surveillance activities in the era following elimination in Finland.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Measles / epidemiology*
  • Measles / prevention & control
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine / administration & dosage*
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine / immunology*
  • Mumps / epidemiology*
  • Mumps / prevention & control
  • Rubella / epidemiology*
  • Rubella / prevention & control
  • Vaccination / statistics & numerical data*


  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine