VoICE Immunization Evidence: Gender Inequity
Disparities in immunization coverage between girls and boys persist in some communities, despite apparent equity in coverage at the global level. Focused efforts to erase these areas of persistent gender inequity in vaccine coverage are needed.
A study conducted in the urban poor in Delhi, India found that the odds of complete vaccination were lower in female children than in male children. The female:male complete immunization coverage ratio showed only 78 females received complete immunizations per every 100 males immunized. The authors note that this gender inequity effect in immunization has not changed in many Indian states despite increasing overall vaccine coverage rates.
Devasenapathy, N., Ghosh Jerath, S., Sharma, S., et al. 2016. Determinants of childhood immunisation coverage in urban poor settlements of Delhi, India: a cross-sectional study. BMJ Open. 6:e013015.
A study looking at DHS data from 67 countries found that, globally, girls and boys had the same likelihood of being vaccinated. In some countries where there is known gender inequity and son preference, girls were more likely to not be vaccinated.
Hilber, A. M., Bosch-Capblanch, X., Schindler, C., et al. 2010. Gender and immunisation. World Health Organization.
Inequity in vaccination coverage in India was found between states, within states, and in urban vs. rural. Lower parental education resulted in lower coverage, girls had lower coverage than boys and infants born to families with a large number of children also had lower coverage than others. A direct relationship between household wealth and coverage was also found.
Mathew, J.L. 2012. Inequity in childhood immunization in India: a systematic review. Indian Pediatrics. 49:203-23.
An analysis of data from India’s National Family Health Survey designed to examine the trends and patterns of inequalities over time showed, that despite a decline in urban-rural and gender differences over time, children residing in rural areas and girls remained disadvantaged. Moreover regions that had the lowest gender inequality in 1992 showed an increase in gender difference over time. Similarly, urban-rural inequality increased in one region during the 1992–2006 data collection period.
Singh, P.K. 2013. Trends in Child Immunization across Geographical Regions in India: Focus on Urban-Rural and Gender Differences. PLoS ONE. 8(9).