Measles vaccination – protection for everyone

In Germany, there are significant gaps in measles vaccination which lead to outbreaks of measles time and again. Vaccinations do more than just protect the recipient against an infection. They also protect people who are not able to be vaccinated, for example children who are younger than one year old or people with certain chronic illnesses. Vaccination gaps prevent the development of so-called herd immunity, the protection of the community against the occurrence and spreading of infectious diseases.

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In particular, adults who were born after 1970 have insufficient protection through vaccinations. According to surveys, the three biggest factors preventing this group from being vaccinated are as follows: There is little awareness of the need for a second vaccination. Many people therefore falsely assume that they are already effectively protected. As a supposed childhood illness, the consequences of measles are underestimated. Some people are worried about side effects from the vaccination.

The Federal Ministry of Health’s aim is to eliminate vaccination gaps for measles and other infectious diseases and thus to achieve protection for everyone. On behalf of the Ministry of Health, the wirksam regieren project group is testing alternative information formats in order to increase measles vaccination rates through fact-based information. Factual information is supposed to help people in the relevant group to make an informed decision.

Aim of the project

Increasing the vaccination rates in adults who were born after 1970 through fact-based information.


Tests of the impact of different information formats on vaccination behaviour:

  • Mailing of information letters to members of public health insurances. Letters differ with regard to content, format and length ;
  • Mailing of informational materials to general practitioners for display in practices;
  • Direct mention of measles vaccination by the treating doctor.


Two separate randomised controlled field studies, in cooperation with two statutory health insurancess.

Current status

The data collected is available in the third quarter of 2017. The report on the findings will be published once data analysis has been completed.

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