Control of rubella and congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) in developing countries, Part 2: Vaccination against rubella

Bull World Health Organ. 1997;75(1):69-80.


In 1995-96 we conducted a review of rubella immunization strategies. Worldwide, 78 countries (more than one-third) reported a national policy of using rubella vaccine. This was closely related to country economic status. Based on the United Nations country classification, rubella vaccine is used in 92% of industrialized countries, 36% of those with economies-in-transition, and 28% of developing countries. Cases of congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) may be prevented as follows: by providing direct protection to women and/or schoolgirls (a selective vaccination strategy); by vaccinating boys and girls to provide indirect protection by reducing the transmission of rubella virus (a childhood vaccination strategy); or by a combination of these approaches (a combined strategy). A combined strategy was most commonly reported (60% of countries); seven countries (9%) reported a selective strategy; and 24 countries (31%) reported only childhood immunization. Experience has shown that it is essential to include vaccination of women of childbearing age in any rubella control strategy. Childhood vaccination alone may pose a risk of an increase in CRS cases. Although many countries have introduced rubella vaccine, few report any data on the impact of vaccination. Countries using rubella vaccine need to establish surveillance for rubella and CRS and monitor coverage in each of the target groups.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Developing Countries*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Preventive Health Services
  • Rubella / prevention & control*
  • Rubella Vaccine*


  • Rubella Vaccine