According to PLOS Medicine, over the last fifty years, people’s access to life-saving vaccinations has risen substantially. However, in recent years, development has slowed and even reversed.
If the worldwide vaccination gap is to be closed, subnational heterogeneities in critical child immunization must be better recognized. Vaccination is a very effective public health method that has practically eliminated numerous previously widespread and possibly fatal infectious illnesses.
Vaccine availability has increased globally, but the advantages have not been dispersed evenly. Measles, polio, and diphtheria are just a few infectious illnesses that have been eradicated in high-income nations due to comprehensive vaccination campaigns. However, the prevalence of these illnesses is still alarmingly high in low- and middle-income nations (LMICs).
Every year, around 1.5 million children under the age of five die from vaccine-preventable illnesses, with the majority dying in developing countries such as Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
The Immunization Agenda 2030 was created in 2021 to ensure vaccination equality better and offer access to immunizations for all people. The agenda’s primary goals are to increase worldwide vaccination rates among children to at least 90% and to lower the proportion of children who have not received any immunizations by at least 50%.
According to Anna Dimitrova and colleagues, to be successful in this tremendous undertaking, they must first identify who has been ignored and the obstacles they face in acquiring a vaccine that might save their lives.
Despite this, vaccination coverage estimates are frequently provided at the national level, which may conceal considerable discrepancies at the subnational level and between socioeconomic categories. Identifying locations with high percentages of under or unvaccinated children, where disease outbreaks are likely, will be critical for bridging the vaccination gap between poor and rich countries.
The Global Vaccine Action Plan and the Global Vaccine Expanded Immunization Program have helped reduce child mortality from major infectious diseases. However, recent years have witnessed a slowdown and even a reversal in child immunization progress, particularly in countries like Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, where prevalent infectious illnesses pose a significant health burden. The 2019 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) epidemic has highlighted the difficulties that underprivileged countries confront in acquiring access to immunizations.
Furthermore, despite the quick establishment of global vaccination databases in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which provides up-to-date information at acceptable temporal and geographic resolution, LMICs need to catch up. A key challenge to planning and executing context-specific interventions in LMICs is a need for more data on subnational heterogeneities in critical vaccination.
Another significant action point of the Sustainable Development Goals is providing universal vaccine access by 2030. If present rates of improvement are to be maintained, areas with many under and unvaccinated people must be identified, and impediments to receiving life-saving immunization must be removed.
However, this analysis shows that only reporting statistics at the national level may mask significant subnational heterogeneities in vaccination coverage. There are local and international differences in the rate at which children get vaccinated using data from 43 low- and middle-income nations.
Further vaccination efforts are needed in Africa and South Asia, where the study indicated severe under immunization of youngsters. Less than 10% of children in Angola, Chad, Nigeria, Guinea, Mali, and Afghanistan have gotten their recommended vaccines. Researchers also discovered that most children in these countries lack access to all four necessary vaccines listed in the World Health Organization’s Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) (BCG, DTP, OPV, and MCV).
Low socioeconomic status is associated with decreased rates of childhood vaccination. Most nations’ children from low-income homes are less likely to be vaccinated appropriately. Our findings are consistent with others showing pro-rich inequalities in FIC using several inequality indicators.
Low vaccine coverage and high socioeconomic inequality in essential immunization are especially concerning in certain regions because low-income households are more likely to live in filthy conditions, suffer from food insecurity, and lack access to health care, all of which contribute to high child morbidity and mortality from infectious diseases. Vaccination programs should provide special attention to children living in these circumstances.
The most affected countries were Armenia, Tajikistan, and Mauritania. Several studies in LMICs show that vaccination gaps are widening, with the poor benefiting the most. Skepticism regarding vaccinations may explain why more people in wealthy countries follow this trend. Parents’ opinions of the dangers and advantages of vaccination may influence their desire to vaccinate their children.