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Researchers develop method to better estimate vaccine coverage
Date:10/26/2011

Immunizations are a valuable tool for controlling infectious diseases among populations both in the U.S. and globally. Routine immunizations and supplemental immunization activities, such as immunization campaigns, are designed to provide immunization coverage to entire populations. Current measurements used to determine the success and rates of immunization can be flawed and inconsistent. According to a new study led by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, estimates of vaccination coverage can be significantly improved by combining administrative data with survey data. The results are featured in the October 2011 issue of PLoS Medicine.

"Reliable estimates of vaccination coverage are key to managing population immunization status," said Justin Lessler, lead author of the study and an assistant professor with the Bloomberg School's Department of Epidemiology. "Currently, the performance of routine and supplemental immunization activities is measured by the administrative method, which leads to coverage estimates that are often inconsistent with the proportion reporting vaccination in cross-sectional surveys. Furthermore, administrative coverage does not tell you how many people are systematically missed by vaccination activities. We estimated that the size of the population never reached by any activity was high in Sierra Leone and Madagascar, 31 percent and 21percent respectively. But it was much lower in Ghana, only 7 percent. "

The widely used administrative method divides the number of doses distributed by the size of the target population. Lessler, along with colleagues from Johns Hopkins, University of Oxford, Epicentre, and Princeton University developed a method for estimating the effective coverage of vaccination programs using cross-sectional surveys of vaccine coverage combined with administrative data. The method was applied using demographic health survey and administrative coverage data r
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Contact: Natalie Wood-Wright
nwoodwri@jhsph.edu
410-614-6029
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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