Background: In China, measles-rubella vaccine and live attenuated SA 14-14-2 Japanese encephalitis vaccine (LJEV) are recommended for simultaneous administration at 8 months of age, which is the youngest recommended age for these vaccines worldwide. We aimed to assess the effect of the co-administration of these vaccines at 8 months of age on the immunogenicity of measles-rubella vaccine.
Methods: We did a multicentre, open-label, non-inferiority, two-group randomised controlled trial in eight counties or districts in China. We recruited healthy infants aged 8 months who had received all scheduled vaccinations according to the national immunisation recommendations and who lived in the county of the study site. Enrolled infants were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive either measles-rubella vaccine and LJEV simultaneously (measles-rubella plus LJEV group) or measles-rubella vaccine alone (measles-rubella group). The primary outcome was the proportion of infants with IgG antibody seroconversion for measles 6 weeks after vaccination, and a secondary outcome was the proportion of infants with IgG antibody seroconversion for rubella 6 weeks after vaccination. Analyses included all infants who completed the study. We used a 5% margin to establish non-inferiority. This trial was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT02643433).
Findings: 1173 infants were assessed for eligibility between Aug 13, 2015, and June 10, 2016. Of 1093 (93%) enrolled infants, 545 were randomly assigned to the measles-rubella plus LJEV group and 548 to the measles-rubella group. Of the infants assigned to each group, 507 in the measles-rubella plus LJEV group and 506 in the measles-rubella group completed the study. Before vaccination, six (1%) of 507 infants in the measles-rubella plus LJEV group and one (<1%) of 506 in the measles-rubella group were seropositive for measles; eight (2%) infants in the measles-rubella plus LJEV group and two (<1%) in the measles-rubella group were seropositive for rubella. 6 weeks after vaccination, measles seroconversion in the measles-rubella plus LJEV group (496 [98%] of 507) was non-inferior to that in the measles-rubella group (499 [99%] of 506; difference -0·8% [90% CI -2·6 to 1·1]) and rubella seroconversion in the measles-rubella plus LJEV group (478 [94%] of 507) was non-inferior to that in the measles-rubella group (473 [94%] of 506 infants; difference 0·8% [90% CI -1·8 to 3·4]). There were no serious adverse events in either group and no evidence of a difference between the two groups in the prevalence of any local adverse event (redness, rashes, and pain) or systemic adverse event (fever, allergy, respiratory infections, diarrhoea, and vomiting). Fever was the most common adverse event (97 [19%] of 507 infants in the measles-rubella plus LJEV group; 108 [21%] of 506 infants in the measles-rubella group).
Interpretation: The evidence of similar seroconversion and safety with co-administered LJEV and measles-rubella vaccines supports the co-administration of these vaccines to infants aged 8 months. These results will be important for measles and rubella elimination and the expansion of Japanese encephalitis vaccination in countries where it is endemic.
Funding: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Department of Health and Human Services; China-US Collaborative Program on Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases.
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