Supported by GAVI Alliance, measles-rubella vaccination was introduced in Vietnam in 2014, involving a mass campaign among 1-14 year olds and routine immunization of children aged 9 months. We explore the impact on the incidence of Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS) during 2013-2050 of this strategy and variants involving women aged 15-35 years. We use an age and sex-structured dynamic transmission model, set up using recently-collected seroprevalence data from Central Vietnam, and also consider different levels of transmission and contact patterns. If the serological profile resembles that in Central Vietnam, the planned vaccination strategy could potentially prevent 125,000 CRS cases by 2050 in Vietnam, despite outbreaks predicted in the meantime. Targeting the initial campaign at 15-35 year old women with or without children aged 9 months-14 years led to sustained reductions in incidence, unless levels of ongoing transmission were medium-high before vaccination started. Assumptions about contact greatly influenced predictions if the initial campaign just targeted 15-35 year old women and/or levels of ongoing transmission were medium-high. Given increased interest in rubella vaccination, resulting from GAVI Alliance funding, the findings are relevant for many countries.
Keywords: rubella, Congenital Rubella Syndrome, measles-rubella vaccination, mathematical modelling, Vietnam.