Vaccination Inequality in India, 2002-2013

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Am J Prev Med. 2020 Oct 20:S0749-3797(20)30403-7. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2020.06.034. Online ahead of print.


INTRODUCTION: India’s childhood vaccination coverage has increased amid the implementation of national health policies intended to improve immunization levels. However, there is a dearth of contemporary studies comparing state-level childhood vaccination rates across India’s highly diverse states and territories. This study assesses SES-based inequalities in childhood vaccination by state for 2002-2013.

METHODS: National surveys from 2002 to 2004, 2007 to 2008, and 2012 to 2013 were used for analyses. Household SES was assessed using an asset index created through principal component analysis. Full vaccination comprised 1 dose bacille Calmette-Guerin, 3 doses diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus vaccine, 3 doses oral polio vaccine, and 1 dose measles-containing vaccine at age 12-60 months. Inequality analyses were stratified by 3 time periods and by government-designated high focus group versus nonhigh focus group states.

RESULTS: Childhood vaccination steadily increased between 2002 and 2013 in high focus group states but fell in some nonhigh focus group states, whereas SES-based vaccination inequalities generally decreased in both. In 2012-2013, rural areas had lower vaccination rates than urban areas in high focus group states but similar vaccination rates as urban areas in non-high focus group states. Increases in vaccination rates were not consistently accompanied by improvements in SES-based inequalities in vaccination.

CONCLUSIONS: Childhood vaccination in India has improved overall, although increases are more pronounced in high focus group states than in nonhigh focus group states over the study period. The gap in coverage between these states decreased over time owing in part to the latter experiencing reductions in full vaccination rates during 2007-2013. SES-based vaccination disparities persist in India, highlighting the need to improve vaccination rates for all children, especially those from disadvantaged and underserved groups.

PMID:33097336 | DOI:10.1016/j.amepre.2020.06.034