Immunization campaigns provide more equitable access to childhood vaccinations compared to maternal health services

An analysis of survey data in Latin America and Caribbean countries found that DPT3 coverage rates among indigenous children were significantly lower than in children of European or mixed ethnicity in three out of 14 countries, while significant inequities between these groups in coverage of maternal health services, such as antenatal care and delivery by a skilled birth attendant, existed in most of the countries. The greater equity in access to childhood vaccination by ethnic group may be because vaccinations are often delivered in the communities through immunization campaigns, whereas maternal health services require accessing health facilities, which may incur user fees and transportation costs.

Dengue illness is costly for low-income families, but immunization can help reduce the economic burden

In a standardized survey of the costs of dengue illness in three highly endemic countries, the economic burden of dengue was greatest on Vietnamese and Colombian low-income families, whose total costs, including lost wages, outpatient and inpatient cases combined, average 36-45% of their monthly household income. In Thailand, although significant, the economic burden was 17% less than the other countries, due to Thailand’s universal health insurance system.

Undernourished children have a higher likelihood for diarrhea and pneumonia but immunization can improve infant growth

Multiple studies show that

  1. Diarrhea and pneumonia impair children’s growth and that underlying malnutrition is a major risk factor for these conditions.
  2. “Episodes of diarrhea may predispose to pneumonia in undernourished children” and
  3. Immunization against influenza (in mothers) and Streptococcus pneumoniae may improve infant growth. In addition, new studies from Bangladesh, Colombia, Ghana, and Israel further support the paradigm that malnutrition is a key risk factor for diarrhea and pneumonia.