31. Mass Immunization Strategies

  1. W. John W. Morrow PhD, DSc, FRCPath4,
  2. Nadeem A. Sheikh PhD5,
  3. Clint S. Schmidt PhD6 and
  4. D. Huw Davies PhD7
  1. David L. Heymann MD, DTM&H1,
  2. R. Bruce Aylward MD, MPH2 and
  3. Rudolf H. Tangermann MD3

Published Online: 20 JUN 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118345313.ch31

Vaccinology: Principles and Practice

Vaccinology: Principles and Practice

How to Cite

Heymann, D. L., Aylward, R. B. and Tangermann, R. H. (2012) Mass Immunization Strategies, in Vaccinology: Principles and Practice (eds W. J. W. Morrow, N. A. Sheikh, C. S. Schmidt and D. H. Davies), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118345313.ch31

Editor Information

  1. 4

    Seattle, WA, USA

  2. 5

    Dendreon Corporation, Seattle, WA, USA

  3. 6

    NovaDigm Therapeutics, Inc., Grand Forks, ND, USA

  4. 7

    University of California at Irvine, Irvine, CA, USA

Author Information

  1. 1

    Infectious Disease Epidemiology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK

  2. 2

    World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland

  3. 3

    Global Polio Eradication Initiative, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 20 JUN 2012
  2. Published Print: 3 AUG 2012

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405185745

Online ISBN: 9781118345313



  • immunization;
  • mass immunization;
  • vaccines;
  • EPI;
  • influenza;
  • meningitis;
  • yellow fever;
  • measles;
  • poliomyelitis;
  • SIA;
  • susceptibility;
  • herd immunity;
  • transmission


Mass immunization strategies are used to protect populations by rapid vaccination of large numbers of individuals. While routine immunization of infants has become the main vaccine delivery strategy in most developing countries, mass immunization continues to be an important tool to rapidly increase the immunity in response to an impending outbreak, or an outbreak that has just begun; in settings with low or absent routine immunization; and where populations have been displaced, and routine immunization services disrupted. Mass immunization is also used to rapidly decrease susceptibility when a new vaccine is being introduced into routine immunization programs. Finally, mass immunization is used to achieve decreases of the morbidity and mortality associated with a vaccine-preventable disease (e.g., measles), and to increase population immunity to the levels required to interrupt disease transmission in order to achieve global eradication. Routine and mass immunization remain important strategies to attain national and international vaccine-preventable disease control and eradication goals, but mass immunization should not be used as a substitute for strengthening weak routine immunization programs.