VoICE : Search Immunization Evidence

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The VoICE tool is a compendium of the many direct and downstream impacts of vaccine-preventable disease and immunization. The database contains summary explanations of the link between immunization and each impact, as well as sources of evidence for each link. You can browse the VoICE tool by topic, or use the filters to find results based on topic, disease or vaccine, location and published year.

34 Key Ideas, 29 Sources
Key Idea

Malnutrition is a leading contributor to morbidity and mortality during humanitarian emergencies and a cyclical relationship exists between malnutrition and infectious diseases. Universal immunization programs have been shown to improve the height and weight measurement markers associated with malnutrition.

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Key Idea

After instituting a multiple-strategy community intervention program in India, for pregnant women who had an institutional delivery, the geographic and socioeconomic inequities between those in urban and rural areas declined from 22% to 7.6%, and disparities between the rich and poor declined from 48.2% to 13%.

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Key Idea

Tens of millions of volunteers, social mobilizers, and health workers have participated in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. The program contributes to efforts to deliver other health benefits, including health systems strengthening. Polio eradication legacy efforts include documenting and applying the lessons learned from polio eradication, and transitioning the capacities, assets and processes of polio to other key health priorities.

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Key Idea

In an analysis of statewide survey data collected in Bihar, India, researchers reported that female newborns had significantly lower odds of receiving care if ill compared to male newborns (80.6% vs. 89.1%) and lower odds of having a postnatal check up visit within a month of birth (5.4% vs. 7.3%). This gender inequity is more pronounced among families at lower wealth levels and those with higher numbers of siblings.

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A study that examined the gender-gap in immunization coverage in a rural area of Bangladesh showed that poverty, low maternal education, and second or higher birth order had a stronger negative effect on the likelihood of full immunization coverage for girls compared to boys. In other words, girls from households in this area that were below the poverty line were 11% less likely to be fully immunized than boys from households below the poverty line. Girls were also 6% less likely than boys to be fully vaccinated if their mothers did not attend high school, and 5% less likely than boys to be vaccinated if they were not the first born child in the family.

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Key Idea

The 2008 Nigerian Demographic Health Survey data suggest that children in communities with high unemployment were 1/3 as likely to be fully immunized than children in communities with a medium level of unemployment.

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Key Idea

A study looking at the relationship between gender roles and full immunization coverage of children in Nigeria found that children of mothers who did not have decision-making autonomy were half as likely to be fully immunized than mothers with autonomy. To further assess the roles of gender and relationship power, children were nearly twice as likely to be fully vaccinated in households where only the mother contributed to household earnings compared to children whose parents contributed equally.

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Key Idea

In an effort to reach children with vitamin A deficiency in the African countries of Angola, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire and Togo, vitamin A supplementation was administered during Polio vaccine campaigns. This led to a minimum coverage of 80% for vitamin A and 84% for polio vaccine in all of the immunization campaigns. During the second year of vitamin A integration into the polio vaccination campaign, coverage exceeded 90% for both vitamin A and polio vaccination in all four countries.

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Key Idea

Through use of local Maternal Child Health (MCH) incentives, along with the use of locally appointed Health Activists, India’s National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) multiple-strategy community intervention program was able to achieve household level improvements in all of the following indicators for women and children over the 7 year program:
– the proportion of pregnant women having 3 or more ante-natal check-ups (from 43% to 74.5%)
– receiving at least one Tetanus Toxoid injection (from 83.5% to 93.6%)
– institutional deliveries (from 35.7% to 77%)
– post-natal check-ups within 2 weeks of delivery (from 49% to 67.2%) and,
– children who received ORS for diarrhea from (32.3% to 44.8%).

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Key Idea

An analysis of under-5 mortality rates (U5MR) in India’s 35 states and union territories and 640 districts was conducted in order to estimate excess female mortality. When comparing India’s census data to data from 46 countries without gender bias, researchers found that more than 90% of districts had excess female mortality. The four largest states in northern India accounted for two-thirds of India’s total number. In more than 10% of northern Indian districts, excess U5MR exceeded 30 per 1000 live births, showing that geography is also a key factor in infant and child death among girls. Low economic development, gender inequity, and high fertility were the main predictors of excess female mortality.

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Key Idea

A study in a population of urban poor in Delhi, India, which examined household and neighborhood-level determinants of childhood immunization, found that less than half of children between 1 and 3.5 years of age received complete immunization as recommended. This was significantly lower than the overall state-level average of 70% immunization coverage.

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Inequity in vaccination coverage in India was found between states, within states, 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.

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Key Idea

The detection of H1N1 influenza virus in Mexico in 2009, and subsequently throughout other countries in the Americas, benefited from the laboratory experience with measles and rubella in the region…. [leading to] the rapid detection of and response to what eventually became a novel pandemic virus.

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Key Idea

In the mid-1980s, the Indian government examined the effect of their universal immunization program on child mortality and educational attainment. Results indicate that exposure to the program reduced infant mortality by 0.4 percentage points and under five child mortality by 0.5 percentage points. These effects on mortality account for approximately one-fifth of the decline in infant and under five child mortality rates between 1985-1990. The effects are more pronounced in rural areas, for poor people, and for members of historically disadvantaged groups.

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In a study of immunization in the Philippines, children vaccinated against 6 diseases performed significantly better on verbal reasoning, math and language tests than those who were unvaccinated. (note: Researchers did not find an association with physical growth.)

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Key Idea

Models based on demographic data from Ghana suggest that immunization would eliminate the childhood mortality risk associated with living in poverty and greatly diminish the increased risk of mortality borne by children whose parents have low levels of education.

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Key Idea

Vaccination of children in the Philippines against 6 diseases was found to significantly increase IQ and language scores (compared to children receiving no vaccinations) and was estimated to have a 21% rate of return.

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Key Idea

A study conducted in the urban poor in Delhi, India examining household and neighborhood-level determinants of childhood immunization found that the odds of complete vaccination in children were higher if the mother was literate (1.6x), if the child was born within the city limits (2.7x), born in a health facility (1.5x), and if they belonged to the wealthiest 20% of families sampled from this poor urban area (2.5x).

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Nigerian Demographic Health Survey data suggests that community literacy influences immunization status. Children in communities with low levels of illiteracy were 82% less likely to be fully immunized than children in communities with medium levels of illiteracy.

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A study conducted in Eastern Uganda found that Ugandan children whose mothers had some secondary schooling were 50% more likely to have received scheduled vaccinations by 6 months of age than children whose mothers had attended school only through primary level. This effect became more pronounced with delivery of the later doses of each vaccine (OPV2, 3 & DPT-HB-Hib 2,3).

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Key Idea

A study conducted in Pakistan, designed to explore the association of maternal education and empowerment with childhood polio vaccination showed that mothers with more education are more likely to vaccinate their children – 74% of children of mothers with higher education were completely vaccinated compared to 67% of those with primary education and only 47% of those with no education.

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A study that examined the gender-gap in immunization coverage in a rural area of Bangladesh showed that poverty, low maternal education, and second or higher birth order had a stronger negative effect on the likelihood of full immunization coverage for girls compared to boys. In other words, girls from households in this area that were below the poverty line were 11% less likely to be fully immunized than boys from households below the poverty line. Girls were also 6% less likely than boys to be fully vaccinated if their mothers did not attend high school, and 5% less likely than boys to be vaccinated if they were not the first born child in the family.

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Key Idea

A multiple-strategy community intervention program of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) in India, designed to reduce maternal and child health (MCH) inequalities was implemented between 2005 and 2012. The gender gap in immunization coverage swung from significantly favoring boys before the intervention to a slight advantage for girls by the end of the intervention. Specifically the coverage differentials changed as follows: for full immunization (5.7% to -0.6%), for BCG immunization (1.9 to -0.9 points), for oral polio vaccine (4% to 0%) and for measles vaccine (4.2% to 0.1%).

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In a systematic review of qualitative research from low- and middle-income countries, women’s low social status was shown to be a barrier to their children accessing vaccinations. Specific barriers included access to education, income, resource allocation and autonomous decision-making related to time. The author’s suggest that expanding the responsibility for children’s health to both parents (mothers and fathers) may be one important element in removing persistent barriers to immunization often faced by mothers.

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A study conducted in Pakistan exploring the association of maternal education and empowerment with childhood polio vaccination found a positive association between maternal empowerment, defined as mother’s involvement in decision-making regarding family, healthcare and other issues, and complete polio vaccination of their children.

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An analysis of data from the 2011 Ethiopian Demographic and Health Survey investigated the relationship between individual- and community-levels of women’s autonomy and children’s immunization status. The results show that community-level autonomy is associated with an increased number of children’s immunizations above and beyond that of individual-level women’s autonomy. These results indicate that empowering women within households not only improves the individual mother’s children’s health, but also serves to improve the lives of other children within the community.

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A systematic review of studies from countries in Africa and Southeast Asia investigated the relationship between a woman’s “Agency” (defined as the woman’s ability to state her goals and to act upon them with motivation and purpose) and childhood immunizations in lower-income settings. The review found a general pattern among studies in which higher agency among mothers was associated with higher odds of childhood immunizations. Empowering women in these settings show promise as a means to improve child health.

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Key Idea

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.

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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.

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Key Idea

Polio eradication investments in health infrastructure have been concentrated in some of the lowest performing health systems in the world, challenged internally by geography, poverty, armed conflict, etc. These assets can be leveraged to improve the health system and immunization overall nationally.

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Key Idea

In the mid-1980s, the Indian government embarked on one of the largest childhood immunization programs-called Universal Immunization Program (UIP)-in order to reduce the high mortality and morbidity among children. Results indicate that exposure to the program reduced infant mortality by 0.4 percentage points and under five child mortality by 0.5 percentage points. These effects on mortality are sizable{they account for approximately one-fifth of the decline in infant and under five child mortality rates between 1985- 1990. The effects are more pronounced in rural areas, for poor people, and for members of historically disadvantaged groups. The 0.5 percentage point reduction each year over 5 years (from 15% under 5 mortality in 1985 to 12.3% in 1990), represents an 18% reduction overall in under 5 mortality.

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Models based on demographic data from Ghana suggest that immunization would eliminate the childhood mortality risk associated with living in poverty and greatly diminish the increased risk of mortality borne by children whose parents have low levels of education.

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Key Idea

A study of Kenyan children under 5 years of age found that immunization with polio, BCG, DPT and measles to be protective against stunting in young children (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.

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Key Idea

A package of 5 vaccines was delivered and it was found that children from poorer households benefited more in terms of health outcomes from immunization than did those from relatively wealthier households. Results suggest that most of the risk of dying before age five can be eliminated with full immunization in the severely health-deprived setting.

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Key Idea

A study conducted in the urban poor in Delhi, India examining household and neighborhood-level determinates of childhood immunization found that the odds of complete vaccination in children were higher if the mother was literate (1.6), if the child was born within the city limits (2.7), born in a health facility (1.5), and if they belonged to the wealthiest 20% of families sampled from this poor urban area (2.5).

View Source >

In a systematic review of qualitative research from low- and middle-income countries, women’s low social status was shown to be a barrier to their children accessing vaccinations. Specific barriers included access to education, income, resource allocation and autonomous decision-making related to time. The author’s suggest that expanding the responsibility for children’s health to both parents (mothers and fathers) may be one important element in removing persistent barriers to immunization often faced by mothers.

View Source >

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.

View Source >

In a study designed to explore the association of maternal education and empowerment with childhood polio vaccination rates in Pakistani mothers, it was observed that the highest percentage of completely vaccinated children (72.6%) was seen among mothers of the richest quintile, followed by 63.4%, 58.0%, 49.8% and 39% for the richer, middle, poorer and poorest wealth quintiles, respectively.

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Key Idea

A package of 5 vaccines was delivered and it was found that children from poorer households benefited more in terms of health outcomes from immunization than did those from relatively wealthier households. Results suggest that most of the risk of dying before age five can be eliminated with full immunization in the severely health-deprived setting.

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Key Idea

The ongoing conflict in Syria has caused the breakdown of immunization services, leading to outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases in the region, and to the re-emergence of polio in Syria for the first time in 15 years. The potential for polio to re-emerge in neighboring areas with low coverage of inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) threatens the success of global efforts to eradicate polio.

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Key Idea

A study including thousands of children from the US state of Texas found that children born in counties with high coverage of HepB, Polio and Hib vaccines were 33%, 37% and 42% less likely to develop a specific type of leukemia than children in counties with lower coverage of each vaccine.

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Key Idea

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.

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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%.

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A study of Kenyan children under 5 years of age found that immunization with polio, BCG, DPT and measles to be protective against stunting in young children; 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.

View Source >

Key Idea

A study of Kenyan children under 5 years of age found that 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.

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Key Idea

Mothers infected with rubella virus during the first trimester of pregnancy can give birth to children with permanent disabilities such as intellectual impairment, autism, blindness, deafness and cardiac defects. The infection is completely preventable if mothers are vaccinated before pregnancy.

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Key Idea

Tens of millions of volunteers, social mobilizers, and health workers have participated in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. The program contributes to efforts to deliver other health benefits, including health systems strengthening. Polio eradication legacy efforts include documenting and applying the lessons learned from polio eradication, and transitioning the capacities, assets and processes of polio to other key health priorities.

View Source >

Key Idea

In October 2012, responding to the declaration by the World Health Organization of polio eradication as a global public health emergency, and to improve its national response, the Government of Nigeria used the Incident Management System (IMS) to establish a national Emergency Operations Center (EOC) as part of a new national emergency plan for the global polio eradication initiative. The use of IMS through the EOC changed the operational tempo, accountability measures, and programmatic success of the polio program. This existing infrastructure was leveraged to contain the outbreak of Ebola.

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Key Idea

In the Americas, a platform built to secure polio eradication has been expanded to help track, control, prevent and monitor immunization impact for measles and rubella. In India, highly trained polio health workers have become the basis for a trained workforce working towards the elimination of measles and rubella and helping ensure India’s certification by WHO for having eliminated maternal and neonatal tetanus.

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Key Idea

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the International Pediatric Association were included as partners in the measles and rubella elimination initiative, allowing for more direct collaboration around the interactions of primary health and immunization services and concerns.

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Key Idea

The detection of H1N1 influenza virus in Mexico in 2009, and subsequently throughout other countries in the Americas, benefited from the laboratory experience with measles and rubella in the region…. [leading to] the rapid detection of and response to what eventually became a novel pandemic virus.

View Source >

In October 2012, responding to the declaration by the World Health Organization of polio eradication as a global public health emergency, and to improve its national response, the Government of Nigeria used the Incident Management System (IMS) to establish a national Emergency Operations Center (EOC) as part of a new national emergency plan for the global polio eradication initiative. The use of IMS through the EOC changed the operational tempo, accountability measures, and programmatic success of the polio program. This existing infrastructure was leveraged to contain the outbreak of Ebola.

View Source >