Maternal rubella, vaccination, and congenital hearing impairment in Australia

Laurie Upfold, Ron Oong

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Vaccination against rubella, targeting at-risk females, commenced in Australia in 1971. In 1989, the program was extended to cover children of both sexes from an early age. The question is now asked, 'How effective has vaccination been in reducing the incidence of congenital defects?' Statistics of the numbers of children born from 1941 to 2003 who were fitted with hearing aids as a result of maternal rubella were analysed. The data, drawn from Australian Hearing, the agency which provides an Australian Government free hearing aid service to all Australian children, is considered to include all children with hearing aids. Comparisons were made of the numbers of rubella children born before and after the introduction of the vaccination programs. The results indicate the vaccination programs have been very effective in reducing the incidence of rubella-related congenital hearing impairments. In particular, vaccination is more effective when used in the extended format. The elimination of rubella-related congenital defects now seems possible, provided full coverage of target groups is maintained.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-138
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian Journal of Audiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


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