VoICE Immunization Evidence: Growth, Development, and Nutrition

Key Idea

In a review of recent studies, researchers show that administration of influenza vaccine during pregnancy adds 200 grams to newborn weight, and that PCV7 vaccine given to infants translates into an additional 500 grams of growth in the first 6 months of life. In addition, maternal influenza vaccine led to a 15% reduction in low birth-weight.

Steinhoff, M.C., Omer, S.B., Roy, E., et al 2009. Association of infant pneumococcal immunization with infant growth in Asia. Presented at Pediatric Academic Societies meeting, Vancouver, Canada.

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In a study of families living on 24 plantations in Indonesia, the community immunization rate was found to be protective against thinness for age in children. In other words, children in communities with higher overall levels of immunization had better nutritional status.

Paknawin-Mock, J., Jarvis, L., Jahari, A.B., et al 2000. Community-level determinants of child growth in an Indonesian tea plantation. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 54(Suppl. 2):S28-42.

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Data from India’s National Family Health Survey-3 was modeled to determine the contributing factors to height, weight, and haemoglobin concentration of over 25,000 children. Results showed that, despite the average child receiving only 1.95 doses of DPT and 2.43 doses of polio vaccinations, and the fact that 45% of children were unimmunized against measles, children’s vaccinations were a statistically significant positive predictor for children’s height, weight, and haemoglobin level.

Bhargava, A., Guntupalli, A.M., Lokshin, M. 2011. Health Care Utilization, socioeconomic factors and child health in India. Journal of Biosocial Sciences. 43(6).

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This study, conducted in the United States, demonstrates an association between immunization with the inactivated influenza vaccine during pregnancy and reduced likelihood of prematurity during local, regional, and widespread influenza activity periods. Moreover, during the period of widespread influenza activity there was an association between maternal receipt of influenza vaccine and reduced likelihood of small for gestational age (SGA) birth.

Omer, S.B., Goodman, D., Steinhoff, M.C., et al 2011. Maternal influenza immunization and reduced likelihood of prematurity and small for gestational age births: a retrospective cohort study. PLOS Medicine. 8:e1000441.

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Universal Immunization Programs (UIP) increased the average age-appropriate height and weight of 4 year old children in a study in India. The magnitude of effect suggests that, on average, UIP reduced the height deficit of these children by 22–25% and their weight deficit by 15%.

Anekwe, T.D., Kumar, S. 2012. The effect of a vaccination program on child anthropometry:evidence from India’s Universal Immunization Program.. Journal of Public Health. 34(4):489-497.

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A study of Kenyan children under 5 years of age found immunization with polio, BCG, DPT, and measles to be protective against stunting in young children; they were 27% less likely to be stunted than unimmunized children under age 2 years. In addition, children with diarrhea and cough in the 2 weeks prior to the survey were 80-90% more likely to be underweight or to suffer from wasting.

Gewa, C.A. and Yandell, N. 2011. Undernutrition among Kenyan children: contribution of child, maternal and household factors. Public Health Nutrition. 15(6):1029-38.

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