A random cluster survey and a convenience sample give comparable estimates of immunity to vaccine preventable diseases in children of school age in Victoria, Australia

Heath Kelly, Michaela A. Riddell, Heather F. Gidding, Terry Nolan, Gwendolyn L. Gilbert

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We compared estimates of the age-specific population immunity to measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B and varicella zoster viruses in Victorian school children obtained by a national sero-survey, using a convenience sample of residual sera from diagnostic laboratories throughout Australia, with those from a three-stage random cluster survey. When grouped according to school age (primary or secondary school) there was no significant difference in the estimates of immunity to measles, mumps, hepatitis B or varicella. Compared with the convenience sample, the random cluster survey estimated higher immunity to rubella in samples from both primary (98.7% versus 93.6%, P=0.002) and secondary school students (98.4% versus 93.2%, P=0.03). Despite some limitations, this study suggests that the collection of a convenience sample of sera from diagnostic laboratories is an appropriate sampling strategy to provide population immunity data that will inform Australia's current and future immunisation policies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3130-3136
Number of pages7
Issue number25-26
Publication statusPublished - 19 Aug 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Cluster survey
  • Population immunity data
  • Victorian school children

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