The objective of this study was to develop and apply a dynamic mathematical model of VZV transmission to predict the effect of different vaccination strategies on the age-specific incidence and outcome of infection. To do so a deterministic realistic age-structured model (RAS) was used which takes account of the increased potential for transmission within school aged groups. Various vaccine efficacy scenarios, vaccine coverages and vaccination strategies were investigated and a sensitivity analysis of varicella incidence predictions to important parameters was performed. The model predicts that the overall (natural and breakthrough) incidence and morbidity of varicella would likely be reduced by mass vaccination of 12-month-old children. Furthermore, adding a catch-up campaign in the first year for 1–11 year olds seems to be the most effective strategy to reduce both varicella incidence and morbidity (in the short and long term), though with the possible detrimental effect of increasing the incidence of zoster.
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