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.

Children in rural-urban migrant populations in China, India, and Nigeria have lower immunization rates, requiring special efforts to improve vaccination rates and reduce health inequities and disease outbreaks

According to a systematic review and meta-analysis, children who are rural-urban migrants in China, India and Nigeria were less likely to be fully-immunized by the age of one year than non-migrant urban residents and the general population. These inequities in vaccination rates — often concealed in national averages — call for special efforts to improve immunization rates in this rapidly growing sub-population to reduce both health inequities and the risk of infectious disease outbreaks in the wider society.

Children in Shanghai whose families migrated from rural areas have lower rates of measles vaccination

Children in Shanghai, China whose families migrated from rural areas — now roughly 40% of the city’s total population — are half as likely as “local” children to receive the first dose of measles vaccine by 9 months of age and 42% less likely to receive the second measles dose by 24 months. The lower rates of timely first dose measles vaccination among rural migrants vs. local children — 78% vs. 89% – – are a key obstacle to measles elimination in China. This indicates a need to specifically target non-local children for vaccination, especially those living in primarily migrant communities.

Refugee children in Kenya have significantly lower immunization rates

Somali refugee children in Kenya were nearly 60 times more likely than children of the main ethnic group in the study (Kikuyu) to not have received any childhood immunization and more than twice as likely to have not completed their vaccinations. Although Somali children made up less than 8% of the sample, they accounted for nearly half of all non-vaccinated children.

This study used data from Kenya’s Demographic and Health Survey data.

Refugee girls in Denmark have lower HPV vaccination rates, highlighting the need to address barriers and improve immunization programs

Girls from refugee families in Denmark were 40-56% less likely to receive HPV vaccine through 2 free-of-charge immunization programs than Danish-born girls, and the differences remained significant when income was taken into account. The odds of being vaccinated were lowest for refugees in the country ≤5 years and those from certain countries or regions, indicating the need to reduce cultural, social, and information barriers to immunization, as well as assess immunization programs across increasingly ethnically diverse societies.