Objective Matched case control study was conducted to elucidate the effectiveness of the Oka/Biken vaccine immediately after implementation of the universal immunization program in Japan. Methods Cases were laboratory confirmed varicella patient under 15 years of age diagnosed at 14 designated pediatric clinics between September 2015 and September 2016. Controls were selected from patients who visited the same practice for different reasons as the varicella case within 2 weeks. Swab samples were collected from varicella suspected patients and molecular diagnostic assays were used to confirm varicella cases. Matched odds ratio were used to calculate vaccine effectiveness (VE). Results Varicella zoster virus DNA was detected in 183 (81.3%) of 225 suspected cases. One sample was excluded because it was positive for the Oka vaccine strain (182/225, 80.9%). Three hundred twenty-three control subjects were enrolled. The effectiveness of 1 dose of the Oka/Biken vaccine compared with no vaccine was 76.7% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 58.6–86.9%; P < 0.001). The effectiveness of 2 doses of the Oka/Biken vaccine was 94.2% (95% CI: 85.7–97.6%; P < 0.001). After adjusting for potential confounding effects, the adjusted VE of 1 and 2 doses of varicella vaccine were 76.9% (95% CI: 58.1–87.3%; P < 0.001) and 94.7% (95% CI: 86.0–98.0%; P < 0.001), respectively. Conclusions VE of one dose of Oka/Biken varicella vaccine was insufficient to control varicella. Therefore, two doses of Oka/Biken varicella vaccine is significant for controlling varicella in Japan.
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