VoICE Immunization Evidence: Wealth inequity

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Wealth Inequity

Wealth inequities arise from differences in acquisition of or possession of wealth. Immunization programs, in addition to its impact on the general wealth equity of the population, are found to be most Cost Effective in the lower income and those living in Poverty. This can contribute to greater Health Equity for these populations.
8 Key Ideas, 13 Sources
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

A study looking at the impact of pneumococcal vaccine introduction and scaling up pneumonia treatment in Ethiopia found that 30-40% of all deaths averted by these interventions would be expected to occur in the poorest wealth quintile. Scaling up PCV13 to levels achieved with DTP3 in Ethiopia would be expected to avert nearly 3000 child deaths and 60,000 episodes of pneumococcal pneumonia annually, not including any potential herd benefit. A publicly financed program to scale up pneumococcal vaccines would cost about $40 per year of healthy life gained.

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Measles vaccine in Bangladesh: Unvaccinated children in the poorest quintile were more than twice as likely to die as those from the least poor quintile. In addition vaccination reduced socioeconomic status-related mortality differentials.

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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

Rates of vaccination in all studied countries were highest and risk mortality lowest in the top two wealth quintile’s coverage. Countries differed in the relative inequities in these two underlying variables. Cost per DALYs averted is substantially greater in the higher quintiles. In all countries, the greatest potential vaccine benefit was in the poorest quintiles; however, reduced vaccination coverage lowered the projected vaccine benefit.

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A study of measles vaccine in Bangladesh found that children from the poorest quintile were more than twice as likely to die as those from the least quintile in the absence of measles vaccination. The difference in mortality between unvaccinated and vaccinated was statistically significant (p<0.10) and robust across alternative measures of socioeconomic status.

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Key Idea

A group of experts evaluated a number of maternal, neonatal and child health interventions for equity across wealth quintiles using data from 1990-2006. Immunization was found to have the narrowest differences in coverage of services between the poorest and wealthiest children. In other words, of the interventions evaluated, immunization was the most equitable across income groups.

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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).

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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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Globally, coverage of the third dose of DTP is 15% higher among children in the highest compared to lowest wealth quintile. However, this masks differences of up to 64% in the most inequitable countries (Nigeria).

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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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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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In Tanzania, poverty was found to have a negative effect on receiving vaccines on time (at the recommended age). Children in the wealthiest quintile experienced 19% fewer delays for BCG vaccination, 23% fewer delays for the third dose of DTP vaccination, and 31% fewer delays for the first dose of measles-containing vaccine, compared to children of the poorest quintile.

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Key Idea

A group of experts evaluated a number of maternal, neonatal and child health interventions for equity across wealth quintiles using data from 1990-2006. Immunization was found to have the narrowest differences in coverage of services between the poorest and wealthiest children (28% higher coverage in the highest wealth quintile compared to the lowest). By contrast, indicators of treatment coverage for children sick with diarrhea and pneumonia were nearly 60% higher in the highest wealth quintile compared to the poorest. This means that poor children are at a much greater disadvantage with respect to receiving treatment for pneumonia and diarrhea than they are for receiving vaccines to prevent these infections.

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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.

View Source >

Key Idea

A study modeling the economic impact of 10 childhood immunizations in 41 low- and middle-income countries found that the bulk of poverty averted through vaccination occurs in poor populations. For most of the vaccines in the study, at least 40% of the poverty averted would occur in the poorest wealth quintile. Particularly for pneumonia, more than half of the two million deaths averted by pneumococcal and Hib vaccines would occur in the poorest 40% of the population.

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A woman carrying vaccines

Search for immunization evidence

The VoICE tool allows you to search for research studies and published evidence based on a topic, location, and disease or vaccine.

Search VoICE