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1.  Validity of Parent-Reported Vaccination Status for Adolescents Aged 13–17 Years: National Immunization Survey-Teen, 2008 
Public Health Reports  2011;126(Suppl 2):60-69.
The validity of parent-reported adolescent vaccination histories has not been assessed. This study evaluated the validity of parent-reported adolescent vaccination histories by a combination of immunization card and recall, and by recall only, compared with medical provider records.
We analyzed data from the 2008 National Immunization Survey-Teen. Parents of adolescents aged 13–17 years reported their child's vaccination history either by immunization card and recall (n=3,661) or by recall only (n=12,822) for the hepatitis B (Hep B), measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), varicella (VAR), tetanus-diphtheria/tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis (Td/Tdap), meningococcal conjugate (MCV4), and quadrivalent human papillomavirus (HPV4) (for girls only) vaccines. We validated parental report with medical records.
Among the immunization card/recall group, vaccines with >20% false-positive reports included MMR (32.3%) and Td/Tdap (36.9%); vaccines with >20% false-negative reports included VAR (35.2%), MCV4 (36.0%), and Tdap (41.9%). Net bias ranged from −25.0 to −0.1 percentage points. Kappa values ranged from 0.22 to 0.92. Among the recall-only group, vaccines with >20% false-positive reports included Hep B (33.9%), MMR (61.4%), VAR (26.2%), and Td/Tdap (60.6%); vaccines with >20% false-negative reports included Hep B (58.9%), MMR (33.7%), VAR (51.6%), Td/Tdap (25.5%), Tdap (50.3%) MCV4 (63.0%), and HPV4 (20.5%). Net bias ranged from −46.0 to 0.5 percentage points. Kappa values ranged from 0.03 to 0.76.
Validity of parent-reported vaccination histories varies by type of report and vaccine. For recently recommended vaccines, false-negative rates were substantial and higher than false-positive rates, resulting in net underreporting of vaccination rates by both the immunization card/recall and recall-only groups. Provider validation of parent-reported vaccinations is needed for valid surveillance of adolescent vaccination coverage.
PMCID: PMC3113431  PMID: 21812170
2.  Measles vaccination coverage estimates from surveys, clinic records, and immune markers in oral fluid and blood: a population-based cross-sectional study 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:1211.
Recent outbreaks of measles and polio in low-income countries illustrate that conventional methods for estimating vaccination coverage do not adequately identify susceptible children. Immune markers of protection against vaccine-preventable diseases in oral fluid (OF) or blood may generate more accurate measures of effective vaccination history, but questions remain about whether antibody surveys are feasible and informative tools for monitoring immunization program performance compared to conventional vaccination coverage indicators. This study compares six indicators of measles vaccination status, including immune markers in oral fluid and blood, from children in rural Bangladesh and evaluates the implications of using each indicator to estimate measles vaccination coverage.
A cross-sectional population-based study of children ages 12–16 months in Mirzapur, Bangladesh, ascertained measles vaccination (MCV1) history from conventional indicators: maternal report, vaccination card records, ‘card + history’ and EPI clinic records. Oral fluid from all participants (n = 1226) and blood from a subset (n = 342) were tested for measles IgG antibodies as indicators of MCV1 history and compared to conventional MCV1 coverage indicators.
Maternal report yielded the highest MCV1 coverage estimates (90.8%), followed by EPI records (88.6%), and card + history (84.2%). Seroprotection against measles by OF (57.3%) was significantly lower than other indicators, even after adjusting for incomplete seroconversion and assay performance (71.5%). Among children with blood results, 88.6% were seroprotected, which was significantly higher than coverage by card + history and OF serostatus but consistent with coverage by maternal report and EPI records. Children with vaccination cards or EPI records were more likely to have a history of receiving MCV1 than those without cards or records. Despite similar MCV1 coverage estimates across most indicators, within-child agreement was poor for all indicators.
Measles IgG antibodies in OF was not a suitable immune marker for monitoring measles vaccination coverage in this setting. Because agreement between conventional MCV1 indicators was mediocre, immune marker surveillance with blood samples could be used to validate conventional MCV1 indicators and generate adjusted results that can be compared across indicators.
PMCID: PMC3890518  PMID: 24359402
Immunization; Vaccination; Immune marker; Surveillance; Measles; Oral fluid; Vaccination card; Maternal report; Bangladesh
3.  Validating child vaccination status in a demographic surveillance system using data from a clinical cohort study: evidence from rural South Africa 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:372.
Childhood vaccination coverage can be estimated from a range of sources. This study aims to validate vaccination data from a longitudinal population-based demographic surveillance system (DSS) against data from a clinical cohort study.
The sample includes 821 children in the Vertical Transmission cohort Study (VTS), who were born between December 2001 and April 2005, and were matched to the Africa Centre DSS, in northern KwaZulu-Natal. Vaccination information in the surveillance was collected retrospectively, using standardized questionnaires during bi-annual household visits, when the child was 12 to 23 months of age. DSS vaccination information was based on extraction from a vaccination card or, if the card was not available, on maternal recall. In the VTS, vaccination data was collected at scheduled maternal and child clinic visits when a study nurse administered child vaccinations. We estimated the sensitivity of the surveillance in detecting vaccinations conducted as part of the VTS during these clinic visits.
Vaccination data in matched children in the DSS was based on the vaccination card in about two-thirds of the cases and on maternal recall in about one-third. The sensitivity of the vaccination variables in the surveillance was high for all vaccines based on either information from a South African Road-to-Health (RTH) card (0.94-0.97) or maternal recall (0.94-0.98). Addition of maternal recall to the RTH card information had little effect on the sensitivity of the surveillance variable (0.95-0.97). The estimates of sensitivity did not vary significantly, when we stratified the analyses by maternal antenatal HIV status. Addition of maternal recall of vaccination status of the child to the RTH card information significantly increased the proportion of children known to be vaccinated across all vaccines in the DSS.
Maternal recall performs well in identifying vaccinated children aged 12-23 months (both in HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected mothers), with sensitivity similar to information extracted from vaccination cards. Information based on both maternal recall and vaccination cards should be used if the aim is to use surveillance data to identify children who received a vaccination.
PMCID: PMC3118246  PMID: 21605408
4.  Factors associated with underimmunization at 3 months of age in four medically underserved areas. 
Public Health Reports  2004;119(5):479-485.
OBJECTIVE: Risk factors for underimmunization at 3 months of age are not well described. This study examines coverage rates and factors associated with under-immunization at 3 months of age in four medically underserved areas. METHODS: During 1997-1998, cross-sectional household surveys using a two-stage cluster sample design were conducted in four federally designated Health Professional Shortage Areas. Respondents were parents or caregivers of children ages 12-35 months: 847 from northern Manhattan, 843 from Detroit, 771 from San Diego, and 1,091 from rural Colorado. A child was considered up-to-date (UTD) with vaccinations at 3 months of age if documentation of receipt of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, polio, haemophilus influenzae type B, and hepatitis B vaccines was obtained from a provider or a hand-held vaccination card, or both. RESULTS: Household response rates ranged from 79% to 88% across sites. Vaccination coverage levels at 3 months of age varied across sites: 82.4% in northern Manhattan, 70.5% in Detroit, 82.3% in San Diego, and 75.8% in rural Colorado. Among children who were not UTD, the majority (65.7% to 71.5% per site) had missed vaccines due to missed opportunities. Factors associated with not being UTD varied by site and included having public or no insurance, >/=2 children living in the household, and the adult respondent being unmarried. At all sites, vaccination coverage among WIC enrollees was higher than coverage among children eligible for but not enrolled in WIC, but the association between UTD status and WIC enrollment was statistically significant for only one site and marginally significant for two other sites. CONCLUSIONS: Missed opportunities were a significant barrier to vaccinations, even at this early age. Practice-based strategies to reduce missed opportunities and prenatal WIC enrollment should be focused especially toward those at highest risk of underimmunization.
PMCID: PMC1497657  PMID: 15313111
5.  Parental Delay or Refusal of Vaccine Doses, Childhood Vaccination Coverage at 24 Months of Age, and the Health Belief Model 
Public Health Reports  2011;126(Suppl 2):135-146.
We evaluated the association between parents' beliefs about vaccines, their decision to delay or refuse vaccines for their children, and vaccination coverage of children at aged 24 months.
We used data from 11,206 parents of children aged 24–35 months at the time of the 2009 National Immunization Survey interview and determined their vaccination status at aged 24 months. Data included parents' reports of delay and/or refusal of vaccine doses, psychosocial factors suggested by the Health Belief Model, and provider-reported up-to-date vaccination status.
In 2009, approximately 60.2% of parents with children aged 24–35 months neither delayed nor refused vaccines, 25.8% only delayed, 8.2% only refused, and 5.8% both delayed and refused vaccines. Compared with parents who neither delayed nor refused vaccines, parents who delayed and refused vaccines were significantly less likely to believe that vaccines are necessary to protect the health of children (70.1% vs. 96.2%), that their child might get a disease if they aren't vaccinated (71.0% vs. 90.0%), and that vaccines are safe (50.4% vs. 84.9%). Children of parents who delayed and refused also had significantly lower vaccination coverage for nine of the 10 recommended childhood vaccines including diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis (65.3% vs. 85.2%), polio (76.9% vs. 93.8%), and measles-mumps-rubella (68.4% vs. 92.5%). After adjusting for sociodemographic differences, we found that parents who were less likely to agree that vaccines are necessary to protect the health of children, to believe that their child might get a disease if they aren't vaccinated, or to believe that vaccines are safe had significantly lower coverage for all 10 childhood vaccines.
Parents who delayed and refused vaccine doses were more likely to have vaccine safety concerns and perceive fewer benefits associated with vaccines. Guidelines published by the American Academy of Pediatrics may assist providers in responding to parents who may delay or refuse vaccines.
PMCID: PMC3113438  PMID: 21812176
6.  An evaluation of the 2012 measles mass vaccination campaign in Guinea 
To estimate the post-campaign level of measles vaccination coverage in Guinea.
Interview of parents and observation of measles vaccination cards of children aged 9 to 59 months during the mass measles campaign. A nationwide cluster randomized sample under health District stratification.
64.2% (95%CI = 60.9% to 67.4%) of children were vaccinated and had their measles vaccination card. With respect to card and history 90.5% (95%CI = 88.3% to 92.3%) were vaccinated. The estimation was found to be between 72.7% and 81.9%. Coverage with card increased from 55.5% to 79.30% with the level of education of parents but that was not statistically significant, (X2(trend) =3.087 P= 0.07). However coverage with card significantly increased with profession from 55.1% for farmers followed by 59.2% for other manual workers to 73.8% for sellers, ending by 74.5% for settled technicians (X2 (trend) =12.16 P= 0.0005). For unvaccinated children, lack of information accounted for the main reason (37.03%) followed by parents’ occupation (23.45%), parents’ sickness (8.6%), children's sickness (4.9%) and others including vaccinators absent in the post or parents’ belief that it was a door to door campaign.
The mass measles vaccination campaign achieved an approximate coverage of 75%. Although not enough for effective control of measles, it has covered an important gap left over by the routine immunization coverage 42%. Appropriate measures are needed to improve coverage in routine immunization and specific actions should be taken to target farmers and other manual workers’ families but also uneducated groups for both routine immunization and mass campaigns.
PMCID: PMC4149790  PMID: 25184021
Measles; immunization; evaluation; vaccination; coverage
7.  The Association Between Intentional Delay of Vaccine Administration and Timely Childhood Vaccination Coverage 
Public Health Reports  2010;125(4):534-541.
We evaluated the association between intentional delay of vaccine administration and timely vaccination coverage.
We used data from 2,921 parents of 19- to 35-month-old children that included parents' reports of intentional delay of vaccine administration. Timely vaccination was defined as administration with ≥4 doses of diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis; ≥3 doses of polio vaccine; ≥1 dose of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine; ≥3 doses of Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine; ≥3 doses of hepatitis B vaccine; and ≥1 dose of varicella vaccine by 19 months of age, as reported by vaccination providers.
In all, 21.8% of parents reported intentionally delaying vaccinations for their children. Among parents who intentionally delayed, 44.8% did so because of concerns about vaccine safety or efficacy and 36.1% delayed because of an ill child. Children whose parents intentionally delayed were significantly less likely to receive all vaccines by 19 months of age than children whose parents did not delay (35.4% vs. 60.1%, p<0.05). Parents who intentionally delayed were significantly more likely to have heard or read unfavorable information about vaccines than parents who did not intentionally delay (87.6% vs. 71.9%, p<0.05). Compared with parents who intentionally delayed only because their child was ill, parents who intentionally delayed only because of vaccine safety or efficacy concerns were significantly more likely to seek additional information about their decision from the Internet (11.4% vs. 1.1%, p<0.05), and significantly less likely to seek information from a doctor (73.9% vs. 93.9%, p<0.05).
Intentionally delayed vaccine doses are not uncommon. Children whose parents delay vaccinations may be at increased risk of not receiving all recommended vaccine doses by 19 months of age and are more vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases. Providers should consider strategies such as educational materials that address parents' vaccine safety and efficacy concerns to encourage timely vaccination.
PMCID: PMC2882604  PMID: 20597453
8.  Measuring the Performance of Vaccination Programs Using Cross-Sectional Surveys: A Likelihood Framework and Retrospective Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(10):e1001110.
Justin Lessler and colleagues describe a method that estimates the fraction of a population accessible to vaccination activities, and they apply it to measles vaccination in three African countries: Ghana, Madagascar, and Sierra Leone.
The performance of routine and supplemental immunization activities is usually measured by the administrative method: dividing the number of doses distributed by the size of the target population. This method leads to coverage estimates that are sometimes impossible (e.g., vaccination of 102% of the target population), and are generally inconsistent with the proportion found to be vaccinated in Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS). We describe a method that estimates the fraction of the population accessible to vaccination activities, as well as within-campaign inefficiencies, thus providing a consistent estimate of vaccination coverage.
Methods and Findings
We developed a likelihood framework for estimating the effective coverage of vaccination programs using cross-sectional surveys of vaccine coverage combined with administrative data. We applied our method to measles vaccination in three African countries: Ghana, Madagascar, and Sierra Leone, using data from each country's most recent DHS survey and administrative coverage data reported to the World Health Organization. We estimate that 93% (95% CI: 91, 94) of the population in Ghana was ever covered by any measles vaccination activity, 77% (95% CI: 78, 81) in Madagascar, and 69% (95% CI: 67, 70) in Sierra Leone. “Within-activity” inefficiencies were estimated to be low in Ghana, and higher in Sierra Leone and Madagascar. Our model successfully fits age-specific vaccination coverage levels seen in DHS data, which differ markedly from those predicted by naïve extrapolation from country-reported and World Health Organization–adjusted vaccination coverage.
Combining administrative data with survey data substantially improves estimates of vaccination coverage. Estimates of the inefficiency of past vaccination activities and the proportion not covered by any activity allow us to more accurately predict the results of future activities and provide insight into the ways in which vaccination programs are failing to meet their goals.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Immunization (vaccination) is a proven, cost-effective tool for controlling life-threatening infectious diseases. It provides protection against infectious diseases by priming the human immune system to respond quickly and efficiently to bacteria, viruses, and other disease-causing organisms (pathogens). Whenever the human body is exposed to a pathogen, the immune system—a network of cells, tissues, and organs—mounts an attack against the foreign invader. Importantly, the immune system “learns” from the encounter, and the next time the body is exposed to the same pathogen, the immune system responds much faster to the threat. Immunization exposes the body to a very small amount of a pathogen, thereby safely providing protection against subsequent infection. More than two billion deaths are averted every year through routine childhood immunization and supplemental immunization activities (mass vaccination campaigns designed to increase vaccination coverage where immunization goals have not been reached by routine vaccination). Indeed, these two types of vaccination activities have eliminated smallpox from the world and are close to doing the same for several other infectious diseases.
Why Was This Study Done?
To reduce deaths from infectious diseases even further, it is important to know the proportion of the population reached by vaccination activities. At present, countries report vaccination coverage to the World Health Organization (WHO) that is calculated by dividing the number of vaccine doses delivered during the activity by the size of the target population. However, estimates arrived at through this “administrative method” do not account for vaccine doses that were not actually delivered, and can only reflect a single vaccination activity, which prevents us from identifying populations that may be systematically missed by all vaccination activities (for example, children living in remote areas, or children whose parents refuse vaccination). Moreover, estimates of coverage obtained by the administrative method rarely agree with estimates obtained through cross-sectional surveys such as Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), which are household surveys of family circumstances and health undertaken at a single time point. In this study, the researchers developed a method for measuring the performance of vaccination activities that estimates the fraction of the population accessible to these activities and within-activity inefficiencies. They then tested their method by applying it to measles vaccination in three African countries; before 1980, measles killed about 2.6 million children worldwide every year, but vaccination activities have reduced this death toll to about 164,000 per year.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers developed a set of formulae (a “likelihood framework”) to estimate the effective coverage of vaccination activities using data on vaccine coverage from cross-sectional surveys and administrative data. They then applied their method to measles vaccination in Ghana, Madagascar, and Sierra Leone using data obtained in each country's most recent DHS survey and administrative data reported to WHO. The researchers estimate that 93%, 77%, and 65% of the target populations in Ghana, Madagascar, and Sierra Leone, respectively, were ever covered by any vaccination activity, and that inefficiencies within vaccination activities were low for Ghana, but higher for Madagascar and Sierra Leone. Consequently, the researchers' estimates of vaccination activity coverage were substantially lower than the administrative estimates for Madagascar and Sierra Leone but only slightly lower than that for Ghana. Finally, the researchers' estimates of routine vaccination coverage were generally lower than WHO-adjusted estimates but broadly agreed with age-specific vaccination coverage levels from DHS surveys.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Although the accuracy of the estimates provided by this likelihood framework depends on the assumptions included in the framework and the quality of the data fed into it, these findings show that, by combining administrative data with survey data, estimates of vaccine coverage can be substantially improved. By providing estimates of both the inefficiency of past vaccination activities and the proportion of the target population inaccessible to any vaccination activity, this method should help public health experts predict the results of future activities and help them understand why some vaccination programs fail to meet their goals. Importantly, knowing both the size of the inaccessible population and the inefficiency level of past programs makes it possible to estimate the effect of providing additional doses of vaccine on vaccination coverage. Finally, the application of this new method might help individual countries understand how susceptibility to specific infectious diseases is building up in their population and enable them to avoid outbreaks similar to the measles outbreaks that have recently occurred in several African countries.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
WHO provides information about immunization and details of its Expanded Program on Immunization and its Global Immunization Vision and Strategy; WHO Africa provides details about measles immunization in Africa; a photo story about mass measles vaccination in Côte d’Ivoire is available (some material in several languages)
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information for members of the public about immunization
The Measles Initiative is a collaborative effort that aims to reduce global measles mortality through mass vaccination campaigns and by strengthening routine immunization; its website includes information on measles and measles vaccination, including photos and videos of vaccination activities
MedlinePlus provides links to additional resources about immunization and about measles (in English and Spanish)
The charity website Healthtalkonline has interviews with UK parents about their experience of immunizing their children
PMCID: PMC3201935  PMID: 22039353
9.  The association between travel time to health facilities and childhood vaccine coverage in rural Ethiopia. A community based cross sectional study 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:476.
Few studies have examined associations between access to health care and childhood vaccine coverage in remote communities that lack motorised transport. This study assessed whether travel time to health facilities was associated with childhood vaccine coverage in a remote area of Ethiopia.
This was a cross-sectional study using data from 775 children aged 12–59 months who participated in a household survey between January –July 2010 in Dabat district, north-western Ethiopia. 208 households were randomly selected from each kebele. All children in a household were eligible for inclusion if they were aged between 12–59 months at the time of data collection. Travel time to vaccine providers was collected using a geographical information system (GIS). The primary outcome was the percentage of children in the study population who were vaccinated with the third infant Pentavalent vaccine ([Diphtheria, Tetanus,-Pertussis Hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenza type b] Penta3) in the five years before the survey. We also assessed effects on BCG, Penta1, Penta2 and Measles vaccines. Analysis was conducted using Poisson regression models with robust standard error estimation and the Wald test.
Missing vaccination data ranged from 4.6% (36/775) for BCG to 16.4% (127/775) for Penta3 vaccine. In children with complete vaccination records, BCG vaccine had the highest coverage (97.3% [719/739]), Penta3 coverage was (92.9% [602/648]) and Measles vaccine had the lowest coverage (81.7% [564/690]). Children living ≥60mins from a health post were significantly less likely (adjRR = 0.85 [0.79-0.92] p value < =0.001) to receive Penta3 vaccine compared to children living <30mins from a health post. This effect was not modified by household wealth (p value = 0.240). Travel time also had a highly significant association with BCG (adjRR = 0.95 [0.93-0.98] p value =0.002) and Measles (adjRR = 0.88 [0.79-0.97] p value =0.027) vaccine coverage.
Travel time to vaccine providers in health posts appeared to be a barrier to the delivery of infant vaccines in this remote Ethiopian community. New vaccine delivery strategies are needed for the hardest to reach children in the African region.
PMCID: PMC3439329  PMID: 22726457
10.  How do caregivers know when to take their child for immunizations? 
BMC Pediatrics  2005;5:44.
Childhood vaccinations help reduce and eliminate many causes of morbidity and mortality among children. The objective of this study was to compare 4:3:1:3:3 (4+ doses of diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and pertussis vaccine, 3+ doses of poliovirus vaccine, 1+ doses of measles-containing vaccine, 3+ doses of Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine, and 3+ doses of hepatitis B vaccine) coverage among children whose caregivers learned by different methods when their child's most recent immunization was needed.
Between July 2001 and December 2002, a portion of households receiving the National Immunization Survey were asked how they knew when to take the child in for his/her most recent immunization. Responses were post-coded into several categories: 'Doctor/nurse reminder at previous immunization visit', 'Shot card/record', 'Reminder/recall', and 'Other'. Respondents could give more than one answer. Children who did not receive any vaccines, had ≤ 1 visits for vaccinations, or whose caregiver did not provide an answer to the question were excluded from analyses. Chi-square analyses were used to compare 4:3:1:3:3 coverage among 19–35 month old children.
Children whose caregivers indicated that a doctor/nurse told them at a previous immunization visit when to return for the next immunization had significantly greater 4:3:1:3:3 coverage than those who did not choose the response (77.2% vs. 70.1%, p < 0.01). However, no significant difference in coverage was found between households that did/did not indicate that reminder/recalls (71.0% vs. 75.5%, p = 0.24) helped them remember when to take their child for their most recent immunization visit; only borderline significance was found between those that did/did not choose shot cards (70.6% vs. 76.2%, p = 0.07).
A doctor or nurse's reminder during an immunization visit of the next scheduled immunization visit effectively encourages caregivers to bring children in for immunizations, providing an inexpensive and easy way to effectively increase immunization coverage.
PMCID: PMC1314897  PMID: 16316458
11.  Does the effect of vitamin A supplements depend on vaccination status? An observational study from Guinea-Bissau 
BMJ Open  2012;2(1):e000448.
Vitamin A supplementation (VAS) is estimated to reduce all-cause mortality by 24%. Previous studies indicate that the effect of VAS may vary with vaccination status. The authors evaluated the effect of VAS provided in campaigns on child survival overall and by sex and vaccination status at the time of supplementation.
Observational cohort study.
Setting and participants
The study was conducted in the urban study area of the Bandim Health Project in Guinea-Bissau. The authors documented participation or non-participation in two national vitamin A campaigns in December 2007 and July 2008 for children between 6 and 35 months of age. Vaccination status was ascertained by inspection of vaccination cards. All children were followed prospectively.
Outcome measures
Mortality rates for supplemented and non-supplemented children were compared in Cox models providing mortality rate ratios (MRRs).
The authors obtained information from 93% of 5567 children in 2007 and 90% of 5799 children in 2008. The VAS coverage was 58% in 2007 and 68% in 2008. Mortality in the supplemented group was 1.5% (44 deaths/2873 person-years) and 1.6% (20 deaths/1260 person-years) in the non-supplemented group (adjusted MRR=0.78 (0.46; 1.34)). The effect was similar in boys and girls. Vaccination cards were seen for 86% in 2007 and 84% in 2008. The effect of VAS in children who had measles vaccine as their last vaccine (2814 children, adjusted MRR=0.34 (0.14; 0.85)) differed from the effect in children who had diphtheria–tetanus–pertussis vaccine as their last vaccine (3680 children, adjusted MRR=1.29 (0.52; 3.22), p=0.04 for interaction).
The effect of VAS differed by most recent vaccination, being beneficial after measles vaccine but not after diphtheria–tetanus–pertussis vaccine.
Article summary
Article focus
Vitamin A supplementation (VAS) is estimated to reduce all-cause mortality by 24%.
The effect of VAS may vary with vaccination status, being beneficial with or after measles vaccine (MV) but not after diphtheria–tetanus–pertussis (DTP) vaccine.
Key messages
The effect of VAS is heterogeneous.
The effect of VAS varied with vaccination status: supplemented children had lower mortality than non-supplemented children when MV was the most recent vaccine but not when DTP was the most recent vaccine.
The effect of VAS tended to differ by season of supplementation.
Strengths and limitations of this study
Information was collected on the individual level, and the children were followed prospectively.
Due to the observational nature of the study, the comparison of supplemented and non-supplemented children should be interpreted with caution.
However, a selection bias is unlikely to have worked in different directions for children who had DTP and MV as the most recent vaccine.
PMCID: PMC3278485  PMID: 22240648
12.  Evaluation of immunization coverage within the Expanded Program on Immunization in Kita Circle, Mali: a cross-sectional survey 
In 1986, the Government of Mali launched its Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) with the goal of vaccinating, within five years, 80% of all children under the age of five against six target diseases: diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, poliomyelitis, tuberculosis, and measles. The Demographic and Health Survey carried out in 2001 revealed that, in Kita Circle, in the Kayes region, only 13% of children aged 12 to 23 months had received all the EPI vaccinations. A priority program was implemented in 2003 by the Regional Health Department in Kayes to improve EPI immunization coverage in this area.
A cross-sectional survey using Henderson's method (following the method used by the Demographic and Health Surveys) was carried out in July 2006 to determine the level of vaccination coverage among children aged 12 to 23 months in Kita Circle, after implementation of the priority program. Both vaccination cards and mothers' declarations (in cases where the mother cannot make the declaration, it is made by the person responsible for the child) were used to determine coverage.
According to the vaccination cards, 59.9% [CI 95% (54.7-64.8)] of the children were fully vaccinated, while according to the mothers' declarations the rate was 74.1% [CI 95% (69.3-78.4)]. The drop-out rate between DTCP1 and DTCP3 was 5.5%, according to the vaccination cards. The rate of immunization coverage was higher among children whose mothers had received the anti-tetanus vaccine [OR = 2.1, CI 95% (1.44-3.28)]. However, our study found no difference associated with parents' knowledge about EPI diseases, distance from the health centre, or socio-economic status. Lack of information was one reason given for children not being vaccinated against the six EPI diseases.
Three years after the implementation of the priority program (which included decentralization, the active search for missing children, and deployment of health personnel, material and financial resources), our evaluation of the vaccination coverage rates shows that there is improvement in the EPI immunization coverage rate in Kita Circle. The design of our study did not, however, enable us to determine the extent to which different aspects of the program contributed to this increase in coverage. Efforts should nevertheless be continued, in order to reach the goal of 80% immunization coverage.
Abstract in French
See the full article online for a translation of this abstract in French.
PMCID: PMC3226232  PMID: 19828057
13.  Vaccination Coverage Estimates for Selected Counties: Achievement of Healthy People 2010 Goals and Association with Indices of Access to Care, Economic Conditions, and Demographic Composition 
Public Health Reports  2008;123(2):155-172.
We provided vaccination coverage estimates for 181 counties; evaluated the extent to which Healthy People 2010 (HP 2010) vaccination coverage objectives were achieved; and examined how variations in those estimates depend on access to care and economic conditions.
We analyzed data for 24,031 children aged 19 to 35 months sampled from the 2004 and 2005 National Immunization Survey.
Children living in the 181 counties represented 49% of all the 19- to 35-month-old children living in the U.S. None of the 181 counties had coverage for the polio, measles-mumps-rubella, Haemophilus influenzae type B, and hepatitis B vaccines that was significantly lower than the HP 2010 objective of 90% coverage. However, as many as 30.4% of the counties did not achieve the HP 2010 objective for diphtheria, tetanus toxoids, and acellular pertussis or diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and pertussis (DtaP/DTP), and as many as 6.6% did not achieve the goal for varicella (VAR). If children who received three doses of DTaP/DTP had received a final fourth dose, and if all children had received one dose of VAR, all of the 181 counties would have achieved the HP 2010 vaccination coverage target of 80% for the entire 4:3:1:3:3:1 vaccination series. Factors found to be associated with low county-level vaccination coverage rates were correlates of poverty, and factors found to be associated with high county-level vaccination coverage rates were correlates of access to pediatric services.
HP 2010 vaccination coverage goals for all 181 counties can be achieved by improving vaccination coverage for only two vaccines. Those goals may be achieved most efficiently by targeting interventions in counties where indices of poverty are high or where access to pediatric services is low.
PMCID: PMC2239325  PMID: 18457068
14.  Immunization coverage and risk factors for failure to immunize within the Expanded Programme on Immunization in Kenya after introduction of new Haemophilus influenzae type b and hepatitis b virus antigens 
BMC Public Health  2006;6:132.
Kenya introduced a pentavalent vaccine including the DTP, Haemophilus influenzae type b and hepatitis b virus antigens in Nov 2001 and strengthened immunization services. We estimated immunization coverage before and after introduction, timeliness of vaccination and risk factors for failure to immunize in Kilifi district, Kenya.
In Nov 2002 we performed WHO cluster-sample surveys of >200 children scheduled for vaccination before or after introduction of pentavalent vaccine. In Mar 2004 we conducted a simple random sample (SRS) survey of 204 children aged 9–23 months. Coverage was estimated by inverse Kaplan-Meier survival analysis of vaccine-card and mothers' recall data and corroborated by reviewing administrative records from national and provincial vaccine stores. The contribution to timely immunization of distance from clinic, seasonal rainfall, mother's age, and family size was estimated by a proportional hazards model.
Immunization coverage for three DTP and pentavalent doses was 100% before and 91% after pentavalent vaccine introduction, respectively. By SRS survey, coverage was 88% for three pentavalent doses. The median age at first, second and third vaccine dose was 8, 13 and 18 weeks. Vials dispatched to Kilifi District during 2001–2003 would provide three immunizations for 92% of the birth cohort. Immunization rate ratios were reduced with every kilometre of distance from home to vaccine clinic (HR 0.95, CI 0.91–1.00), rainy seasons (HR 0.73, 95% CI 0.61–0.89) and family size, increasing progressively up to 4 children (HR 0.55, 95% CI 0.41–0.73).
Vaccine coverage was high before and after introduction of pentavalent vaccine, but most doses were given late. Coverage is limited by seasonal factors and family size.
PMCID: PMC1475578  PMID: 16707013
15.  Vaccination of children with a live-attenuated, intranasal influenza vaccine – analysis and evaluation through a Health Technology Assessment 
Background: Influenza is a worldwide prevalent infectious disease of the respiratory tract annually causing high morbidity and mortality in Germany. Influenza is preventable by vaccination and this vaccination is so far recommended by the The German Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) as a standard vaccination for people from the age of 60 onwards. Up to date a parenterally administered trivalent inactivated vaccine (TIV) has been in use almost exclusively. Since 2011 however a live-attenuated vaccine (LAIV) has been approved additionally. Consecutively, since 2013 the STIKO recommends LAIV (besides TIV) for children from 2 to 17 years of age, within the scope of vaccination by specified indications. LAIV should be preferred administered in children from 2 to 6 of age. The objective of this Health Technology Assessment (HTA) is to address various research issues regarding the vaccination of children with LAIV. The analysis was performed from a medical, epidemiological and health economic perspective, as well as from an ethical, social and legal point of view.
Method: An extensive systematic database research was performed to obtain relevant information. In addition a supplementary research by hand was done. Identified literature was screened in two passes by two independent reviewers using predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria. Included literature was evaluated in full-text using acknowledged standards. Studies were graded with the highest level of evidence (1++), if they met the criteria of European Medicines Agency (EMA)-Guidance: Points to consider on applications with 1. meta-analyses; 2. one pivotal study.
Results: For the medical section, the age of the study participants ranges from 6 months to 17 years. Regarding study efficacy, in children aged 6 months to ≤7 years, LAIV is superior to placebo as well as to a vac-cination with TIV (Relative Risk Reduction – RRR – of laboratory confirmed influenza infection approx. 80% and 50%, respectively). In children aged >7 to 17 years (= 18th year of their lives), LAIV is superior to a vaccination with TIV (RRR 32%). For this age group, no studies that compared LAIV with placebo were identified. It can be concluded that there is high evidence for superior efficacy of LAIV (compared to placebo or TIV) among children aged 6 months to ≤7 years. For children from >7 to 17 years, there is moderate evidence for superiority of LAIV for children with asthma, while direct evidence for children from the general population is lacking for this age group. Due to the efficacy of LAIV in children aged 6 months to ≤7 years (high evidence) and the efficacy of LAIV in children with asthma aged >7 to 17 years (moderate evidence), LAIV is also very likely to be efficacious among children in the general population aged >7 to 17 years (indirect evidence). In the included studies with children aged 2 to 17 years, LAIV was safe and well-tolerated; while in younger children LAIV may increase the risk of obstruction of the airways (e.g. wheezing).
In the majority of the evaluated epidemiological studies, LAIV proved to be effective in the prevention of influenza among children aged 2–17 years under everyday conditions (effectiveness). The trend appears to indicate that LAIV is more effective than TIV, although this can only be based on limited evidence for methodological reasons (observational studies). In addition to a direct protective effect for vaccinated children themselves, indirect protective ("herd protection") effects were reported among non-vaccinated elderly population groups, even at relatively low vaccination coverage of children. With regard to safety, LAIV generally can be considered equivalent to TIV. This also applies to the use among children with mild chronically obstructive conditions, from whom LAIV therefore does not have to be withheld. In all included epidemiological studies, there was some risk of bias identified, e.g. due to residual confounding or other methodology-related sources of error.
In the evaluated studies, both the vaccination of children with previous illnesses and the routine vaccination of (healthy) children frequently involve cost savings. This is especially the case if one includes indirect costs from a societal perspective. From a payer perspective, a routine vaccination of children is often regarded as a highly cost-effective intervention. However, not all of the studies arrive at consistent results. In isolated cases, relatively high levels of cost-effectiveness are reported that make it difficult to perform a conclusive assessment from an economic perspective. Based on the included studies, it is not possible to make a clear statement about the budget impact of using LAIV. None of the evaluated studies provides results for the context of the German healthcare setting.
The efficacy of the vaccine, physicians' recommendations, and a potential reduction in influenza symptoms appear to play a role in the vaccination decision taken by parents/custodians on behalf of their children. Major barriers to the utilization of influenza vaccination services are a low level of perception and an underestimation of the disease risk, reservations concerning the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, and potential side effects of the vaccine. For some of the parents surveyed, the question as to whether the vaccine is administered as an injection or nasal spray might also be important.
Conclusion: In children aged 2 to 17 years, the use of LAIV can lead to a reduction of the number of influenza cases and the associated burden of disease. In addition, indirect preventive effects may be expected, especially among elderly age groups. Currently there are no data available for the German healthcare setting. Long-term direct and indirect effectiveness and safety should be supported by surveillance programs with a broader use of LAIV.
Since there is no general model available for the German healthcare setting, statements concerning the cost-effectiveness can be made only with precaution. Beside this there is a need to conduct health eco-nomic studies to show the impact of influenza vaccination for children in Germany. Such studies should be based on a dynamic transmission model. Only these models are able to include the indirect protective effects of vaccination correctly.
With regard to ethical, social and legal aspects, physicians should discuss with parents the motivations for vaccinating their children and upcoming barriers in order to achieve broader vaccination coverage.
The present HTA provides an extensive basis for further scientific approaches and pending decisions relating to health policy.
PMCID: PMC4219018  PMID: 25371764
Health Technology Assessment; HTA; LAIV; live attenuated vaccine; TIV; trivalent inactivated vaccine
16.  The Swiss National Vaccination Coverage Survey, 2005–2007 
Public Health Reports  2011;126(Suppl 2):97-108.
We described the results from the Swiss National Vaccination Coverage Survey (SNVCS) 2005–2007, a survey designed to monitor immunization coverage of children and adolescents residing in Switzerland in each canton within a three-year period.
The SNVCS is a cross-sectional survey using a two-stage sampling design targeting children aged 2, 8, and 16 years. Families of selected children were contacted by mail and telephone. Coverage was determined via vaccination cards or vaccination summary forms.
A total of 25 out of 26 cantons participated in the survey, with 8,286 respondents for children aged 24–35 months, 10,314 respondents for children aged 8 years, and 9,301 respondents for teenagers aged 16 years. Compared with data from 1999–2003, coverage estimates for toddlers remained unchanged for diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, poliomyelitis, and Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccines at three doses, but increased five percentage points to 86%–87% for measles-mumps-rubella at one dose and was 71% at two doses. Coverage for measles, mumps, and rubella were 89%–90% at one dose and 75% at two doses for 8-year-olds, and 94% and 76% for the two dosages, respectively, for 16-year-olds. Linguistic region and nationality were highly correlated with being vaccinated against measles for the two younger age groups.
Despite the increase in vaccine coverage, measles vaccination is still low, and the World Health Organization goal to eliminate measles by 2010 was not achieved in Switzerland. More efforts are needed by the cantons and the central government to increase vaccination coverage.
PMCID: PMC3113435  PMID: 21812174
17.  Deficiencies in current childhood immunization indicators. 
Public Health Reports  1998;113(6):527-532.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate "up-to-date" and "age-appropriate" indicators of preschool vaccination status and their implications for vaccination policy. METHODS: The authors analyzed medical records data from the Baltimore Immunization Study for 525 2-year-olds born from August 1988 through March 1989 to mothers living in low-income Census tracts of the city of Baltimore. RESULTS: While only 54% of 24-month-old children were up-to-date for the primary series, indicators of up-to-date coverage were consistently higher, by 37 or more percentage points, than corresponding age-appropriate indicators. Almost 80% of children who failed to receive the first dose of DTP or OPV age-appropriately failed to be up-to-date by 24 months of age for the primary series. CONCLUSIONS: Age-appropriate immunization indicators more accurately reflect adequacy of protection for preschoolers than up-to-date indicators at both the individual and population levels. Age-appropriate receipt of the first dose of DTP should be monitored to identify children likely to be underimmunized. Age-appropriate indicators should also be incorporated as vaccination coverage estimators in population-based surveys and as quality of care indicators for managed care organizations. These changes would require accurate dates for each vaccination and support the need to develop population-based registries.
PMCID: PMC1308436  PMID: 9847924
18.  Compulsory and recommended vaccination in Italy: evaluation of coverage and non-compliance between 1998-2002 in Northern Italy 
BMC Public Health  2005;5:42.
Since vaccinations are an effective prevention tool for maintaining the health of society, the monitoring of immunization coverage allows us to identify areas where disease outbreaks are likely to occur, and possibly assist us in predicting future outbreaks. The aim of this study is the investigation of the coverage achieved for compulsory (diphtheria, tetanus, polio, hepatitis B,) and recommended (pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae, measles-mumps-rubella) vaccinations between 1998 and 2002 in the municipality of Bologna and the identification of the subjects not complying with compulsory and recommended vaccinations.
The statistics regarding vaccinal coverage were elaborated from the data supplied by the Bologna vaccinal registration system (1998–2000) and the IPV4 program (2001–2002). To calculate the coverage for compulsory vaccinations and cases of non-compliance reference was made to the protocol drawn up by the Emilia Romagna Regional Administration. The reasons for non-compliance were divided into various categories
In Bologna the levels of immunization for the four compulsory vaccinations are satisfactory: over 95% children completed the vaccinal cycle, receiving the booster for anti-polio foreseen in their 3rd year and for anti-dyphteria, tetanus, pertussis at 6 years. The frequency of subjects with total non-compliance (i.e. those who have not begun any compulsory vaccinations by the age of one year) is generally higher in Bologna than in the region, with a slight increase in 2002 (2.52% and 1.06% in the city and the region respectively). The frequency of the anti-measles vaccination is higher than that of mumps and rubella, which means that the single vaccine, as opposed to the combined MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) was still being used in the period in question.
The most common reason for non compliance is objection of parents and is probably due to reduction of certain diseases or anxiety about the possible risks.
In Bologna the frequency of children aged 12 and 24 months who have achieved compulsory vaccination varied, in 2002, between 95% and 98%. As regards recommended vaccinations the percentage of coverage against Haemophilus influenzae is 93.3%, while the levels for measles, mumps and pertussis range from 84% to approx. 92%. Although these percentages are higher if compared to those obtained by other Italian regions, every effort should be made to strengthen the aspects that lead to a successful vaccinal strategy.
PMCID: PMC1090596  PMID: 15845144
19.  Using the Immunization Information System to Determine Vaccination Coverage Rates among Children Aged 1–7 Years: A Report from Zhejiang Province, China 
Background: The Zhejiang Immunization Information System (ZJIIS) was established in 2004. This study described the coverage rates of NIP vaccines in Zhejiang Province using the ZJIIS. Methods: Children aged 1–7 years (born from 1 January 2005 to 31 December 2011) registered in ZJIIS were enrolled in this study. All immunization records were obtained from the ZJIIS on 31 December 2012. The cohort method had been used for identifying trends and patterns in vaccine administration. Immunization coverage estimates were analyzed for both individual NIP vaccines and “Fully immunized” by age group, birth cohort, immigration status, and geography area. We also examined the timeliness vaccination for the 2010 birth cohort. Results: A total of 3,579,896 children were registered in ZJIIS. All the vaccines and doses which scheduled to be given at ≤12 months of age exceeded 90%. There was substantial decrease trend in the vaccines scheduled at >12 months of age and most of these vaccines were below 90%. The coverage of migrant children was lower than for resident children and the coverage of WenZhou (WZ), Zhoushan (ZS) and TaiZhou (TZ) was lower than other municipalities for most of vaccines across all the birth cohorts. Nearly 20%–30% of children of 2010 birth cohort delayed for the primary series vaccination scheduled at ≤12 months of age, especially among migrant children. Conclusions: The ZJIIS is useful in tracking vaccine coverage of children aged 1–7 years and the data provided by ZJIIS reflected the fact that NIP delivery was improving in Zhejiang Province, while identifying some areas for improvement. We recommend continuing surveillance to estimate of vaccine coverage through ZJIIS. Immunization strategies such as Assessment, Feedback, Incentives, and Exchange program, reminder/recall activity, home visits, school entry requirements and school-based clinics could be used to reach a higher coverage of the population.
PMCID: PMC3987000  PMID: 24603495
national immunization program; immunization information system; coverage; birth cohort; migrant; timeliness
20.  Intervene before leaving: clustered lot quality assurance sampling to monitor vaccination coverage at health district level before the end of a yellow fever and measles vaccination campaign in Sierra Leone in 2009 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:415.
In November 2009, Sierra Leone conducted a preventive yellow fever (YF) vaccination campaign targeting individuals aged nine months and older in six health districts. The campaign was integrated with a measles follow-up campaign throughout the country targeting children aged 9–59 months. For both campaigns, the operational objective was to reach 95% of the target population. During the campaign, we used clustered lot quality assurance sampling (C-LQAS) to identify areas of low coverage to recommend timely mop-up actions.
We divided the country in 20 non-overlapping lots. Twelve lots were targeted by both vaccinations, while eight only by measles. In each lot, five clusters of ten eligible individuals were selected for each vaccine. The upper threshold (UT) was set at 90% and the lower threshold (LT) at 75%. A lot was rejected for low vaccination coverage if more than 7 unvaccinated individuals (not presenting vaccination card) were found. After the campaign, we plotted the C-LQAS results against the post-campaign coverage estimations to assess if early interventions were successful enough to increase coverage in the lots that were at the level of rejection before the end of the campaign.
During the last two days of campaign, based on card-confirmed vaccination status, five lots out of 20 (25.0%) failed for having low measles vaccination coverage and three lots out of 12 (25.0%) for low YF coverage. In one district, estimated post-campaign vaccination coverage for both vaccines was still not significantly above the minimum acceptable level (LT = 75%) even after vaccination mop-up activities.
C-LQAS during the vaccination campaign was informative to identify areas requiring mop-up activities to reach the coverage target prior to leaving the region. The only district where mop-up activities seemed to be unsuccessful might have had logistical difficulties that should be further investigated and resolved.
PMCID: PMC3438100  PMID: 22676225
Clustered lot quality assurance sampling (C-LQAS); Measles vaccine; Yellow fever vaccine; Vaccination coverage; Monitoring; Africa; Sierra Leone
21.  Decline in Diarrhea Mortality and Admissions after Routine Childhood Rotavirus Immunization in Brazil: A Time-Series Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(4):e1001024.
A time series analysis by Manish Patel and colleagues shows that the introduction of rotavirus vaccination in Brazil is associated with reduced diarrhea-related deaths and hospital admissions in children under 5 years of age.
In 2006, Brazil began routine immunization of infants <15 wk of age with a single-strain rotavirus vaccine. We evaluated whether the rotavirus vaccination program was associated with declines in childhood diarrhea deaths and hospital admissions by monitoring disease trends before and after vaccine introduction in all five regions of Brazil with varying disease burden and distinct socioeconomic and health indicators.
Methods and Findings
National data were analyzed with an interrupted time-series analysis that used diarrhea-related mortality or hospitalization rates as the main outcomes. Monthly mortality and admission rates estimated for the years after rotavirus vaccination (2007–2009) were compared with expected rates calculated from pre-vaccine years (2002–2005), adjusting for secular and seasonal trends. During the three years following rotavirus vaccination in Brazil, rates for diarrhea-related mortality and admissions among children <5 y of age were 22% (95% confidence interval 6%–44%) and 17% (95% confidence interval 5%–27%) lower than expected, respectively. A cumulative total of ∼1,500 fewer diarrhea deaths and 130,000 fewer admissions were observed among children <5 y during the three years after rotavirus vaccination. The largest reductions in deaths (22%–28%) and admissions (21%–25%) were among children younger than 2 y, who had the highest rates of vaccination. In contrast, lower reductions in deaths (4%) and admissions (7%) were noted among children two years of age and older, who were not age-eligible for vaccination during the study period.
After the introduction of rotavirus vaccination for infants, significant declines for three full years were observed in under-5-y diarrhea-related mortality and hospital admissions for diarrhea in Brazil. The largest reductions in diarrhea-related mortality and hospital admissions for diarrhea were among children younger than 2 y, who were eligible for vaccination as infants, which suggests that the reduced diarrhea burden in this age group was associated with introduction of the rotavirus vaccine. These real-world data are consistent with evidence obtained from clinical trials and strengthen the evidence base for the introduction of rotavirus vaccination as an effective measure for controlling severe and fatal childhood diarrhea.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Diarrheal disease, usually caused by infectious agents, is the second major cause of death in children aged under five years. As highlighted in a recent PLoS Medicine series, access to clean water and improved sanitation is the key to the primary prevention of diarrheal illnesses. Yet despite the targets of Millennium Development Goal 7 to half the number of people without access to clean water or improved sanitation by 2015, over one billion people worldwide do not currently have access to clean water and over two billion do not currently have access to improved sanitation.
Since enteric viruses are primarily transmitted directly from one person to another, they cannot be controlled completely by improvements in sanitation. Therefore, although not replacing the urgent need to provide access to clean water and improved sanitation for all, vaccination programs that protect young children against some infections that cause diarrhea, such as rotavirus, which accounts for one-third of all child deaths caused by diarrhea, are a pragmatic way forward. As large clinical trials have shown the safety and efficacy of rotavirus vaccines in population settings, in July 2009, the World Health Organization recommended including rotavirus vaccines into every country's national immunization programs.
Why Was This Study Done?
Although the protective effect of rotavirus vaccines has been assessed in various high-, middle-, and low-income settings, for reasons that remain unclear, the efficacy of live, oral rotavirus vaccines appears to be dependent on geographical location and correlated to the socioeconomic status of the population. Because of these concerns, evaluating the health impact of large-scale rotavirus vaccine programs and ensuring their equity in a real-world setting (rather than in clinical trial conditions) is important.
Therefore, the researchers addressed this issue by conducting this study to evaluate the effect of rotavirus vaccination on mortality and hospital admissions for diarrhea due to all causes among young children in the five regions of Brazil. The researchers chose to do this study in Brazil because of the high incidence of diarrhea-related deaths and hospital admissions and because five years ago, in July 2006, the Brazilian Ministry of Health introduced the single-strain rotavirus vaccine simultaneously in all 27 states through its national immunization program—allowing for “before” and “after” intervention analysis.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers obtained data on diarrheal deaths and hospital admissions in children aged under five years for the period 2002–2005 and 2007–2009 and data on rotavirus vaccination rates. The researchers got the data on diarrhea deaths from the Brazilian Mortality Information System—the national database of information collected from death certificates that covers 90% of all deaths in Brazil. The data on hospital admissions came from the electronic Hospital Information System of Brazil's Unified Health System (Sistema Unico de Saúde, SUS)—the publicly funded health-care system that covers roughly 70% of the hospitalizations and includes information on all admissions (from public hospitals and some private hospitals) authorized for payment by the Unified Health System. The researchers got regional rotavirus vaccination coverage estimates for 2007–2009 from the information department of the Ministry of Health, and estimated coverage of the two doses of oral rotavirus vaccine by taking the annual number of second doses administered divided by the number of infants in the region.
In 2007, an estimated 80% of infants received two doses of rotavirus vaccine, and by 2009, this proportion rose to 84% of children younger than one year of age. The researchers found that in the three years following the introduction of rotavirus vaccination, diarrhea-related mortality rates and admissions among children aged under five years were respectively 22% and 17% lower than expected, with a cumulative total of 1,500 fewer diarrhea deaths and 130,000 fewer admissions. Furthermore, the largest reductions in deaths and admissions were among children who had the highest rates of vaccination (less than two years of age), and the lowest reductions were among children who were not eligible for vaccination during the study period (aged 2–4 years).
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that the introduction of rotavirus vaccination in all areas of Brazil is associated with reduced diarrhea-related deaths and hospital admissions in children aged under five years. These real-world impact data are consistent with the clinical trials and strengthen the evidence base for rotavirus vaccination as an effective measure for controlling severe and fatal childhood diarrhea.
These findings have important global policy implications. In middle-income countries, such as Brazil, that are not eligible for financial support from donors, the potential reductions in admissions and other health-care costs will be important for cost-effectiveness considerations to justify the purchase of these still relatively expensive vaccines.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
PLoS Medicine has published a series on water and sanitation
More information is available from the World Health Organization on diarrheal illness in children
More information is available about rotavirus vaccines from the World Health Organization, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Rotavirus Vaccine Program
PMCID: PMC3079643  PMID: 21526228
22.  Determinants of vaccination coverage in rural Nigeria 
BMC Public Health  2008;8:381.
Childhood immunization is a cost effective public health strategy. Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) services have been provided in a rural Nigerian community (Sabongidda-Ora, Edo State) at no cost to the community since 1998 through a privately financed vaccination project (private public partnership). The objective of this survey was to assess vaccination coverage and its determinants in this rural community in Nigeria
A cross-sectional survey was conducted in September 2006, which included the use of interviewer-administered questionnaire to assess knowledge of mothers of children aged 12–23 months and vaccination coverage. Survey participants were selected following the World Health Organization's (WHO) immunization coverage cluster survey design. Vaccination coverage was assessed by vaccination card and maternal history. A child was said to be fully immunized if he or she had received all of the following vaccines: a dose of Bacille Calmette Guerin (BCG), three doses of oral polio (OPV), three doses of diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus (DPT), three doses of hepatitis B (HB) and one dose of measles by the time he or she was enrolled in the survey, i.e. between the ages of 12–23 months. Knowledge of the mothers was graded as satisfactory if mothers had at least a score of 3 out of a maximum of 5 points. Logistic regression was performed to identify determinants of full immunization status.
Three hundred and thirty-nine mothers and 339 children (each mother had one eligible child) were included in the survey. Most of the mothers (99.1%) had very positive attitudes to immunization and > 55% were generally knowledgeable about symptoms of vaccine preventable diseases except for difficulty in breathing (as symptom of diphtheria). Two hundred and ninety-five mothers (87.0%) had a satisfactory level of knowledge. Vaccination coverage against all the seven childhood vaccine preventable diseases was 61.9% although it was significantly higher (p = 0.002) amongst those who had a vaccination card (131/188, 69.7%) than in those assessed by maternal history (79/151, 52.3%). Multiple logistic regression showed that mothers' knowledge of immunization (p = 0.006) and vaccination at a privately funded health facility (p < 0.001) were significantly correlated with the rate of full immunization.
Eight years after initiation of this privately financed vaccination project (private-public partnership), vaccination coverage in this rural community is at a level that provides high protection (81%) against DPT/OPV. Completeness of vaccination was significantly correlated with knowledge of mothers on immunization and adequate attention should be given to this if high coverage levels are to be sustained.
PMCID: PMC2587468  PMID: 18986544
23.  Parental confidence in measles, mumps and rubella vaccine: evidence from vaccine coverage and attitudinal surveys. 
BACKGROUND: The measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine has been the focus of considerable adverse publicity in recent years. AIM: To describe recent trends in parental attitudes to, and coverage of, MMR vaccine. DESIGN OF STUDY: Routine surveillance of vaccine coverage and cross-sectional surveys of parental attitudes. SETTING: All health authorities in England (vaccine coverage) and 132 enumeration districts in England (attitude survey). METHOD: Quarterly MMR vaccine coverage for all resident children in England at two years of age was requested from computerised child health information systems. Data was also obtained from 26 English health authorities/trusts on MMR coverage at 16 months of age. The proportion of mothers who believed that MMR vaccine was safe or carried only a slight risk, and the proportion who intended to fully vaccinate any future children, was obtained from biannual interviews with a national representative sample of over 1000 mothers of children under three years of age. RESULTS: Vaccine coverage at two years of age fell 8.6% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 8.4 to 8.8) between April and June 1995 and between April and June 2001. In September 2001, 67% of mothers reported that the MMR vaccine was safe or carried only a slight risk and 92% of mothers agreed with the statement: 'If I had another child in the future I would have them fully immunised against all childhood diseases'. CONCLUSIONS: Despite considerable adverse publicity, the fall in MMR coverage has been relatively small, mothers' attitudes to MMR remain positive, and most continue to seek advice on immunisation from health professionals. As the vast majority of mothers are willing to have future children fully immunised, we believe that health professionals should be able to use the available scientific evidence to help to maintain MMR coverage.
PMCID: PMC1314443  PMID: 12434960
24.  Poliomyelitis vaccination status among children in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur 2007 
Polio vaccination rates remain low in certain regions of Malaysia. The Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur (FTKL) reported coverage of only 29.3% in 2005 and 61.2% in 2006, despite a Department of Health campaign to provide free three-round immunizations. The estimated numbers of live births used to calculate these rates may have artificially lowered the reported coverage percentages.
A descriptive, cross-sectional household survey was conducted throughout the FTKL in 2007 to assess the actual polio vaccination status of children aged 9 to 24 months. Minimum sample size was calculated and proportionately divided among the 11 FTKL parliamentary constituencies. Residential areas were then randomly selected for in-person interviews. We used the gathered information, verified by medical records, to calculate the actual vaccination coverage and to compare the rates determined by using estimated or registered live births for the region.
Of the 1713 study participants, 98.3% had completed their polio vaccination schedule. Only 21 children had been partially vaccinated, and nine children were completely unvaccinated. FTKL residents had 20 431 live births registered for 2006, as opposed to the official estimate of 28 400. When the registered value of live births was used to calculate vaccination coverage, the 2006 coverage increased (to 85.1%).
Actual vaccination coverage in Kuala Lumpur was much higher than the estimated coverage previously reported, reflecting the expected success of the Department of Health immunization campaign. Estimated values of live births are insufficient to accurately determine vaccine status and should be avoided.
PMCID: PMC3729060  PMID: 23908890
25.  Are we doing enough? Evaluation of the Polio Eradication Initiative in a district of Pakistan's Punjab province: a LQAS study 
BMC Public Health  2010;10:60.
The success of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative was remarkable, but four countries - Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nigeria - never interrupted polio transmission. Pakistan reportedly achieved all milestones except interrupting virus transmission. The aim of the study was to establish valid and reliable estimate for: routine oral polio vaccine (OPV) coverage, logistics management and the quality of monitoring systems in health facilities, NIDs OPV coverage, the quality of NIDs service delivery in static centers and mobile teams, and to ultimately provide scientific evidence for tailoring future interventions.
A cross-sectional study using lot quality assessment sampling was conducted in the District Nankana Sahib of Pakistan's Punjab province. Twenty primary health centers and their catchment areas were selected randomly as 'lots'. The study involved the evaluation of 1080 children aged 12-23 months for routine OPV coverage, 20 health centers for logistics management and quality of monitoring systems, 420 households for NIDs OPV coverage, 20 static centers and 20 mobile teams for quality of NIDs service delivery. Study instruments were designed according to WHO guidelines.
Five out of twenty lots were rejected for unacceptably low routine immunization coverage. The validity of coverage was questionable to extent that all lots were rejected. Among the 54.1% who were able to present immunization cards, only 74.0% had valid immunization. Routine coverage was significantly associated with card availability and socioeconomic factors. The main reasons for routine immunization failure were absence of a vaccinator and unawareness of need for immunization. Health workers (96.9%) were a major source of information. All of the 20 lots were rejected for poor compliance in logistics management and quality of monitoring systems. Mean compliance score and compliance percentage for logistics management were 5.4 ± 2.0 (scale 0-9) and 59.4% while those for quality of monitoring systems were 3.3 ± 1.2 (scale 0-6) and 54.2%. The 15 out of 20 lots were rejected for unacceptably low NIDs coverage by finger-mark. All of the 20 lots were rejected for poor NIDs service delivery (mean compliance score = 11.7 ± 2.1 [scale 0-16]; compliance percentage = 72.8%).
Low coverage, both routine and during NIDs, and poor quality of logistics management, monitoring systems and NIDs service delivery were highlighted as major constraints in polio eradication and these should be considered in prioritizing future strategies.
PMCID: PMC2845105  PMID: 20144212

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