Completeness and timeliness of immunization among children aged 12 to 23 months in South-South Nigeria
Background: Completeness and timeliness of immunization ensures optimal immune response and protection from vaccine-preventable diseases. This study aimed at assessing completeness and timeliness of immunization among children aged 12 to 23 months in Alakahia, Rivers State.
Methods: This was a descriptive cross-sectional study amongst 440 children selected using cluster sampling technique. A validated structured interviewer-administered questionnaire was administered. Two focus group discussions (FGDs) held with 14 purposively selected mothers of study participants using a topic guide. Descriptive statistics involved frequency and percentages for categorical, and mean and standard deviation for continuous variables. Inferential statistics was done using chi-square with p-value of < 0.05 accepted as significant. Thematic content analysis was done for the FGDs
Results: Mean age of participants was 20 months (± 6 months). A total of 232 (52.7%) and 128 (29.1%) mothers had secondary and tertiary education, respectively. Coverage was highest for BCG 405 (92.1%) and lowest for measles and yellow fever vaccines 322 (73.2%). Out of 215 children whose cards were seen, 164 (76.3%) were completely immunized. Pentavalent-1 was the most timely immunization 267 (67.3%) while measles and yellow fever were the least-timely 130 (40.4%). Mother’s education was a significant factor associated with timeliness (p<0.001). Lack of adequate knowledge about immunization and absence of social and economic resources emerged as major barriers.
Conclusion: High immunization rates do not necessarily imply timeliness of vaccination. The researchers advocate for interventions improving access to information, maternal education and other identified barriers to immunization timeliness and completeness.
Keywords: Childhood Immunization, Timeliness, Completeness, South-South, Nigeria