Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics(formerly Human Vaccines)
Volume 8, Issue 9 September 2012
Varicella vaccine uptake in Shandong province, China
Authors: Aiqiang Xu, Qing Xu, Xueqiang Fang, Stephanie Bialek and Chengbin Wang
Varicella vaccine has been licensed in China for decade to be used as single dose in children aged ≥ 12 mo of age in private sector. Little data were available on varicella uptake to date in China yet. A cross-sectional study was conducted in Shandong Province in May 2011 to examine varicella vaccination coverage among children aged 16–40 mo and examine factors associated with varicella vaccine uptake. The overall coverage among children eligible for varicella vaccine was 62% (range 16.7–94.7% by county), much lower than the coverage of the eight vaccines included in the national immunization program (all above 97%). Though proximity to immunization services (< 5 km) was linked with higher vaccine uptake (62.6 vs. 37.4%, p = 0.02), county-level economic development (77.8, 61.0 and 47.1% for developed, sub-developed and developing regions, respectively, p < 0.001) played an even more important role in varicella vaccination. Moreover, there was little variation in coverage of vaccines included in the national immunization program along with county-level economic development. Even though varicella vaccine uptake is relatively high for use on a private basis, the vaccination coverage is not high enough to prevent epidemiology shift to adolescents and adults who are more prone to develop severe outcomes to varicella. Further enhancement on varicella vaccination coverage is necessary and inclusion to national immunization program seems to be a promising option for achieving and maintaining high coverage.