Vaccination coverage in Haiti: results from the 2009 national survey.


Vaccination coverage surveys - Publication abstract: INTRODUCTION: Since 1977, vaccinations to protect against tuberculosis, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, and measles (and rubella since 2009) have been offered to children in Haiti through the routine immunization program. From April to July 2009, a national vaccination coverage survey was conducted to assess the success of the routine immunization program at reaching children in Haiti. METHODS: A multi-stage cluster survey was conducted using a modified WHO method for household sampling. A standardized questionnaire was administered to collect vaccination histories, demographic information, and reasons for under-vaccination of children aged 12-23 months. A child who received the eight recommended routine vaccinations was considered fully vaccinated. The routine vaccination schedule was used to define valid doses and estimate the percentage of children vaccinated on time. RESULTS: Among 1345 children surveyed, 40.4% (95% CI: 36.6-44.2) of the 840 children with vaccination cards had received all eight recommended vaccinations. Coverage was highest for the Bacille Calmette-Guérin vaccine (87.3%), the first doses of the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine (92.0%), and oral poliovirus vaccine (93.4%) and lowest for measles vaccine (46.9%). Timely vaccination rates were lower. Assuming similar coverage for the 505 children without cards, coverage with the complete vaccination series among all surveyed children 31.9%. Reasons for under-vaccination included not having enough time to reach the vaccination location (24.8%), having a child who was ill (13.8%), and not knowing when, or forgetting, to go for vaccination (12.8%). CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS: Coverage for early-infant vaccines was high; however, most children did not complete the full vaccination series, and many children received vaccinations later than recommended. Efforts to improve the immunization program should include increasing the frequency of outreach services, training for vaccination staff to minimize missed opportunities, and better communicating the timing of vaccinations to encourage caregivers to bring their children for vaccinations at the recommended age. Efforts to promote the benefits of vaccination and card retention are also needed.