New research discovers trends in child vaccination rates in 28 States and 8 Union Territories in India

Pune, May 17, 2023: A recent study led by Prof. Sunil Rajpal, Faculty of Economics, FLAME University, and a research fellow at the Harvard Geographic Insights Lab, and co-authored by Dr. Mira Johri, Professor, Department of Management, Evaluation, and Health Policy, School of Public Health, University of Montréal; Dr. Rockli Kim, Assistant Professor, Division of Health Policy and Management, College of Health Science, Korea University; Dr. SV Subramanian, Professor, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; and Akhil Kumar, Researcher, Center for Geographic Analysis, Harvard University examined the prevalence of unvaccinated children in India over 29 years, from 1993 to 2021. The study, titled “Patterns in the Prevalence of Unvaccinated Children Across 36 States and Union Territories in India, 1993–2021,” was published in the Q1 journal, JAMA Network Open.

The study analyzed data from a cross-sectional survey of 125,619 children aged 12 to 23 months in India. The prevalence of children who did not receive a single dose of the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine decreased from 33.4% to 6.6% between 1993 and 2021. However, certain states, including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Maharashtra, accounted for 53.0% of the burden, highlighting the need for targeted efforts to improve vaccination rates in these regions.

The research reveals interstate disparities in childhood vaccination rates across 28 states and 8 Union Territories in India. States like Punjab, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh experienced an increase in prevalence from 2016 to 2021, emphasizing the importance of sustained interventions in high-performing states to achieve the Immunization Agenda 2030 goals endorsed by the World Health Organization.

“The study sheds light on the geographic variation in the prevalence of unvaccinated children across India,” said Prof. Sunil Rajpal. “Our findings underscore the importance of targeted interventions to improve vaccination rates in high-burden states and administrative units to achieve the WHO’s Immunization Agenda 2030 goals.”

The study utilized a binary measure to determine the vaccination status of children in the 0-dose vaccination bracket, specifically looking at those in the age group of 12-23 months who failed to receive the first dose of the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis-containing vaccine. The significance of each geographic unit was assessed using the variance partition coefficient (VPC).

This research paper has been published and can be viewed in the Q1 journal: JAMA Network Open.

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