Scientific publications

Has COVID-19 Affected DTP3 Vaccination in the Americas?

Feb 25, 2024 | Magazine: Vaccines

Ines Aguinaga-Ontoso  1   2 , Sara Guillén-Aguinaga  1   3 , Laura Guillén-Aguinaga  1   4 , Rosa Alas-Brun  1 , Enrique Aguinaga-Ontoso  5 , Esperanza Rayón-Valpuesta  6 , Francisco Guillén-Grima  1   2   7   8

Background: In the Americas, deaths by diseases avoidable with vaccines are a significant contributor to child mortality. An essential means of reducing this is through broad vaccine coverage. The COVID-19 pandemic has posed a potential disruption to vaccine coverage due to its effects on the healthcare system.

Objectives: this study aims to evaluate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on DTP3 vaccination coverage in the Americas, investigating trends from 2012 to 2022 to identify significant changes, regional disparities, and the overall effect of the pandemic on progress towards global immunization targets.

Methods: This study used the coverage data for the third dose of the diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine (DTP3) pulled from UNICEF databases spanning 2012 to 2022. We conducted a Joinpoint regression to identify points of significant trend changes. The annual percentage change (APC) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) were calculated for America and its regions. We also used segmented regression analysis. Using the Chi-square test, we compared DTP3 vaccination coverage for each country between 2019 and 2022.

Results: Overall, America saw a decrease in vaccine coverage during this period, with an APC of -1.4 (95% CI -1.8; -1.0). This trend varied across regions. In North America, the decrease was negligible (-0.1% APC). South America showed the steepest decrease, with an APC of -2.5%. Central America also declined, with an APC of -1.3%. Our findings suggest a concerning trend of declining DTP-vaccination rates in the Americas, exacerbated in certain regions, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The absolute decrease in vaccine coverage in the Americas was -4% between 2019 and 2022, with the most important drop being in Central America (-7%). However, six countries reported increased vaccination rates post-COVID-19, led by Brazil, with a 7% increase. Conversely, twenty-two countries registered a decline in DTP3 vaccine coverage, with the average decrease being -7.37%. This decline poses an important challenge to achieving the WHO's target of 90% coverage for the third dose of DTP by 2030, as evidenced by the reduction in the number of countries meeting this target from 2019 to 2022.

Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted vaccine coverage in America, leading to a decrease, especially across Central America.

CITATION  Vaccines (Basel). 2024 Feb 25;12(3):238.  doi: 10.3390/vaccines12030238

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