The Use of Quasi-experimental Designs for Vaccine Evaluation

James A. Lopez Bernal*, Nicholas Andrews, Gayatri Amirthalingam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Randomized, controlled trials are not always possible to evaluate interventions targeting infectious disease. This is frequently the case when evaluating the population-level impact of vaccines or when evaluating interventions aiming to increase vaccine uptake. Under such circumstances, an array of quasi-experimental designs is increasingly being used to evaluate the effects of vaccines on a wide range of morbidity and health service outcomes. These studies can provide valuable information on the impact of vaccination programs and other related interventions in real-world settings. Nevertheless, not all quasi-experimental designs are equal, and it is important that authors and readers are aware of their relative strengths and potential sources of bias. In this paper, we discuss what a quasi-experimental design is, when they might be used for vaccine evaluation, their strengths and limitations, and examples of their application.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1769-1776
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Financial support. This work was supported by Public Health England.


  • Evaluation
  • Immunizations
  • Interrupted time series
  • Quasi-experimental designs
  • Regression discontinuity


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