In this study an analysis was made of economic costs and medical effects (by cost-effectiveness and cost–benefit analysis) associated with measles vaccination in a hypothetical Western European country. We analysed ten vaccination options in terms of past and future vaccination coverage. We show that several of the proposed strategies for improving measles vaccination coverage are preferable to maintaining the existing policies, regardless of past coverage and the viewpoint of the analysis. For society, very high coverage (95%) two-dose vaccination is most optimal, irrespective of past vaccination coverage. The addition of a one-time campaign (to reduce susceptibility in (pre-)adolescent age groups) to such a high coverage two-dose vaccination programme is cost-saving to the health-care payer and to society when coverage in the past was low ([les ]70%). Even when coverage in the past was high (90%) for more than a decade, this ‘maximum strategy’ could be implemented at an acceptable cost to the health-care payer (incremental direct costs per discounted life-year gained <€30000), and at net savings to society.