Journal of Applied Mathematics and Decision Sciences
Volume 4 (2000), Issue 2, Pages 175-182

Can we prevent the next epidemic? The elimination of childhood diseases by mass vaccination

M. G. Roberts

AgResearch, Wallaceville Animal Research Centre, P.O.Box 40063, Upper Hutt, New Zealand

Copyright © 2000 M. G. Roberts. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Recently in New Zealand there have been outbreaks of measles and pertussis every six and five years respectively. A model has been used to compare the dynamics of these diseases, and to determine the optimum ages at which children should be vaccinated against them. Whereas measles could be eliminated by giving the second vaccination at five years instead of eleven, it is difficult to devise a practical scheme that would eliminate pertussis. It is then necessary to consider vaccination schemes in the light of the age-structure of future epidemics as well as their timing.