Increasing compliance with MMR Vaccinations in Croatia

Fellows: Alexander Rich, Andrew Bell and Mélisande Teng

Technical Mentor: Nuno Brás 

Junior Technical Mentors: William Grimes

Project Manager: Lénia Mestrinho

Project Partner: 

·      Croatian Institute of Public Health (CIPH) | Key Partner

·      Institute of Public Health of Split-Dalmatia County

·      Andrija Štampar School of Public Health

·      Croatian Society for School and University Medicine

In the 1960s, global measles epidemics were responsible for 2.6 million deaths annually, as compared to 90,000 deaths in 2016. This progress was driven by an increase in global vaccination rates; yet, in recent years, vaccine rates have been dropping.

In 2017, only 7 out of 27 European countries had measles vaccination rates above the herd immunity threshold of 95%. In the Dubrovnik-Neretva county of Croatia, preschool MMR vaccination rates decreased from 95%, in 2010, to 56%, in 2017.

The ultimate goal of this project is to increase the vaccination rate for measles, mumps, and rubella in Croatia, aiding the Croatian Institute of Public Health (CIPH), the Institute of Public Health of the Split-Dalmatia County’s, Andrija Stampar School of Public Health and the Croatian Society for School and University Medicine in reaching their target vaccination rate of >95% amongst children across all of Croatia’s counties. Initially, this project will focus on Split-Dalmatia’s County.

The purpose of the project is to use the data made available by CIPH to come up with a modelled system whose objective is twofold:

(i) predict the risk level of each child of not receiving the required two doses of the MMR vaccine and potentially,

(ii) develop clusters of above mentioned children, according to similar features that would allow partner’s customized vaccination-promotion policies.

These goals would inform the existing actions that are taken with regards to parents who are not vaccinating their children or other influential stakeholders.