Rotavirus vaccine introduction reduces hospitalizations for infants and children

A study in four hospitals in Botswana found that over a two-year period following the introduction of rotavirus vaccine, hospitalizations from all causes of diarrhea fell by one-third in infants (0-11 months old), and by nearly one-quarter in all children under five years of age. Ninety percent of infants 4-11 months old in the study population received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 75% received both doses during this period. The vaccine’s impact was most apparent during the rotavirus season when the average number of hospitalizations from diarrhea fell 43% among infants and by one-third among all children under five.

Vaccines reduce hospital admissions and free up more resources to treat and prevent other illnesses

One of the first studies of real-world use of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) in Africa, found 48% fewer cases of pneumonia in children confirmed by x-ray after PCV introductoin. The results show the vaccine greatly reduced childhood pneumonia hospital admissions in Kenya: Hospital admissions for pneumonia went down 27%.The vaccine led to 329 fewer pneumonia cases per 100,000 kids each year.

Immunization can prevent common illnesses that strain hospital resources

In a Bangladeshi study, pneumonia and acute diarrhea were the first and third most common reasons for childhood hospital admission with over half (54%) of the acute diarrhea admissions caused by rotavirus. One in four children taken to this large pediatric hospital were refused admission because all beds were occupied. Vaccination could have prevented children with rotavirus from requiring essential hospital resources when one in four children refused admission had symptoms of pneumonia.

Immunization can help reduce the risk of stunting caused by diarrhea in children

A pooled analysis of nine studies assessing the effects of diarrhea on stunting prior to the age of 24 months showed that the odds of stunting were significantly increased with each diarrheal episode. Each day of diarrhea prior to attaining 24 months of age also contributed to the risk of stunting. For each five episodes of diarrhea, the odds of stunting increased by 13%. In addition, once a child becomes stunted, only 6% of those stunted at 6 months of age recovered by 24 months of age.

Integrating vitamin A supplementation during vaccine campaigns increased coverage and effectiveness for both interventions

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.

Integrated community health interventions targeting high-risk populations can improve maternal and child health outcomes

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 reflected as an increase 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%)
– those 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%).

Immunization against rotavirus has led to significant decreases in hospital admissions and gastroenteritis cases

Several countries have seen a significant decrease in the number of rotavirus-related hospital admissions in rotavirus unvaccinated children ages 2-5 years who were not age eligible to receive the vaccine post introduction. The US had a 41-92% decrease, Australia had a 30-70% decrease, Belgium had a 20-64% decrease, Austria had a 35% reduction and El Salvador had a 41-81% decrease. In addition, there was a reduction in hospitalizations due to gastroenteritis of any cause by 17-51% in the US and 40% in Australia.

Missed opportunities for vaccination were assessed in 14 countries, showing the benefits of various health interventions on immunization coverage

Missed opportunities for vaccination i.e. percentage of children who failed to attain full immunization coverage (FIC) among those receiving one or more other health interventions were assessed through a study of 14 geographically diverse countries. In children with a vaccination rate below 70%, FIC was observed to be lowest in children born to mothers who failed to attend antenatal care across countries. The largest difference in FIC (54%) was observed in Côte d’Ivoire comparing children born to mothers who attended four or more ANC visits compared to no ANC visits. The presence of skilled birth attendant (SBA) was linked to higher rates of FIC with a 36% lower FIC in children born without a SBA in Nigeria. Post-natal care (PNC) acted as a factor contributing to 31% increase in FIC in the children who received PNC in Ethiopia. Vitamin A supplementation and sleeping under an insecticide treated bed net (ITN) were also positively linked to increase in FIC in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Haiti respectively.

Rotavirus immunization can decrease hospital admissions, alleviating pressure on overburdened health systems

A review of evaluations of rotavirus vaccine impact on hospitalizations and all-cause acute gastroenteritis (AGE) across multiple countries showed that during the first decade since vaccine licensure, a 32% median reduction in hospitalizations due to AGE were observed in children under a year of age. In children younger than 5 years of age a 38% median reduction was noted. Additionally, laboratory confirmed cases of rotavirus-related hospitalization dropped by 80% and 67% in children under 1 year and 5 years of age respectively. The vaccine introduction also lead to a 46% decrease of AGE in children under 5 years of age in a high mortality setting.