A study was recently conducted in Guinea-Bissou, West Africa regarding the common occurrence of administering the DTP (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis) and the measles vaccine at the same time. It is currently recommended that the measles vaccine be given at 9 months of age (after the 3 doses of DTP have already been given). However, many of the children in the population aren't able to go to the doctor to match this specific schedule. It has become very common for children to receive MV and DTP on the same visit. This study aimed to look at the risks associated with this practice.
The researchers enrolled children ages 9 months-48 months into 2 groups, one which received MV+DTP+OPV (the polio vaccine was constant between the two groups) and one which only received MV+OPV. All participants had previously received 2 doses of DTP. The Bandim Health Project (a recent infrastructure created to monitor health in Guinea-Bissou) documented morbidity and mortality in the two groups every three months. The results were most significant for the girls, with increased morbidity in the MV+DTP+OPV group from higher rates of diarrhea, use of medication, febrile disease with vesicular rash, and hospitalizations.
Although this article might be significant as an argument to keep to the recommended vaccine schedule, the evidence to directly link the administration of MV+DTP+OPV to increased morbidity seemed unsatisfactory to some degree, as there is likely a lot of variation in the lifestyles of each group that could have led to infection (if the behavior of the 2 groups was controlled more tightly, the results would seem less like correlation). Given the fact that the trial could have been more tightly controlled, it might have been unwise to publish results condemning vaccine use in case it triggers uneasiness among the population