Immunization is one of the most effective ways to protect children from disease, and averts about 2.5 million deaths from diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, and measles globally each year. However, immunization coverage in developing countries is still low, and many children continue to die from vaccine-preventable diseases every year. It is therefore important for authorities to understand the specific factors that might be limiting immunization rates in order to reach full vaccine coverage.
A study in International Journal of Pediatrics provides up-to-date information on the rate of, and barriers to, childhood immunization in a remote rural area of Ethiopia. The authors, Abadi Girmay (Tigray Regional State Health Office, Ethiopia) and Abel Fekadu Dadi (University of Gondar, Ethiopia), found that the full immunization coverage of children aged 12–23 months in the Sekota Zuria district was 77.4%. Although this is higher than the national and regional average, it is lower than the World Health Organization’s target of at least 90% by 2015.
Mothers were interviewed using a questionnaire adapted for the study to determine socio-demographic characteristics and the children’s vaccine histories. Multivariable logistic regression was used to analyze the data. The study identified several predictors of full immunization coverage, including higher maternal education level, good maternal knowledge about immunization, attendance at 3 or more antenatal care appointments, and living near a health facility. The authors therefore recommend strengthening outreach services and working to improve mothers' health knowledge and health-seeking behavior during pregnancy as potential methods for increasing vaccination coverage.
This blog post is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY). Illustration by David Jury.