South Africa has yet to incorporate rubella vaccines (RCV) into its scheduled immunization programme. When adopting RCV, the target demographic should be chosen with the ages of vulnerable individuals in mind. The aim of this study was to ascertain the seroprevalence of antibodies to rubella and characterise immunity gaps in South Africans of all ages. The study used a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay to look for rubella immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies. Only samples that were negative for measles and rubella immunoglobulin M (IgM) were checked and logistic regression analysis to investigate the relationship between rubella susceptibility (IgG negative) and predictor variables were used.

For those aged between zero to 11 months, 1-5 years, 6-10 years and 11-15 years, the rubella resistance was largest. The lowest proportion is for those between the ages of 16 and 49 years. Females were less likely to have rubella-prone sensitivity as compared to males. Rubella vulnerability was also linked in multivariable logistic regression to age.

In the absence of rubella vaccine in South Africa’s Expanded Program on Immunization, the majority of people vulnerable to rubella are infants under the age of 16. Rubella affects about 20% of people aged 16 to 49 years. This susceptibility discrepancy must be considered when introducing RCVs.