World Immunisation Week: Gujarat holds India’s worst record for number of vaccinated children

Indiaspend | ByAlison Saldanha
Apr 28, 2017 09:09 AM IST

While Gujarat’s current immunisation rate is up 11.5% from the previous decade, it is now 11.6 percentage points below the national average of 62%.

Among larger Indian states, Gujarat has the least number of vaccinated children: 50.4%, as of 2015-16 data. The immunisation rate of India’s (as of 2013-14 constant prices) is now worse than that of some of its most backward states — Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh (UP), clubbed together as BIMARU (‘sick’ in Hindi).

While Gujarat’s current immunisation rate is up 11.5% from the previous decade, it is now 11.6 percentage points below the national average of 62%, according to an IndiaSpend analysis of .

Source: from the ministry of health and family welfare ministry.

Of these, 82 districts were located in the BIMARU states alone — 14 in Bihar, 15 in Madhya Pradesh, nine in Rajasthan and 44 in Uttar Pradesh –where 25% of the unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children reside.

The increased focus on these states may thus be credited with the significant progress in immunisation efforts here. The shift in focus from the more prosperous states may have also contributed to their slow growth in vaccination coverage.

Reasons for low immunisation: lack of awareness, conviction and time

There are several reasons for partial or no immunisation across India but the most common ones are: not convinced about the need (28%) and lack of awareness (26%), according to this Mission Indradhanush factsheet.

This was also reflected in the findings from Gujarat, where not feeling the need for vaccines (22.3%) and not knowing about the vaccines (15.5%) were the primary two reasons for low immunisation. A sizeable 10.2% attributed this to “wrong advice from someone” while 8.1% felt the “time (for administering shots) was not convenient”.

In Maharashtra, time inconvenience (15.2%) and not knowing where immunisation shots are being administered (9.6%) were cited as major reasons for low vaccination coverage apart from the other primary reasons.

In the north-eastern states where vaccination coverage is particularly low, a median 44.9% did not feel the need to vaccinate their children.

Further, full immunisation is more complicated as it requires receiving vaccination

doses at different times. Possible reasons for Gujarat’s poor performance in immunising its population could be that its health institutions, clinics and nurses who provide regular check-ups and care are less efficient and capable than in many other states, according to this 2015 report in The Economist.

“Short campaigns to roll out one-off vaccinations are one thing, but sustained investment in health is required to achieve long-term improvements in full immunisation,” the report said.

(Saldanha is an assistant editor at IndiaSpend.) is a data-driven, public-interest journalism non-profit/ is fact-checking initiative, scrutinising for veracity and context statements made by individuals and organisations in public life.

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