Incidence rate of breakthrough varicella observed in healthy children after 1 or 2 doses of varicella vaccine: Results from a meta-analysis

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Although extensive varicella vaccination coverage has been reported in many countries, breakthrough varicella (BV) still occurs in healthy children. We performed a meta-analysis to understand whether 2 varicella vaccine doses are needed in children and, if so, to determine the best time to vaccinate.


The BV incidence rates after 1 or 2 doses of varicella vaccine were pooled using random effects, and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were used to estimate the risk factors after vaccination.


A total of 27 original articles were included in this meta-analysis. The pooled average BV incidence rate in children vaccinated with 1 dose was 8.5 cases per 1,000 person years (PY) (95% confidence interval [CI], 5.3-13.7; random effects model) and 2.2 cases per 1,000 PY (95% CI, 0.5-9.3; random effects model) in children vaccinated with 2 doses. The pooled trend of the annual BV incidence rate from the first to eighth year fluctuated, with a peak annual incidence rate of 35.3 cases per 1,000 population in the fourth year. The meta-regression showed that design type, type of vaccine, and their interaction accounted for approximately 71.74% of the heterogeneity in the average BV incidence rate after 1 vaccine dose.


Two doses of varicella vaccine are more effective than a single dose, and 3-4 years between the first and second vaccinations may achieve higher efficacy.

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