Beyond new vaccine introduction: The uptake of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in the African Region

Photo uploaded by Alexandra BurkeThe number of vaccines available to low-income countries has increased dramatically over the last decade. Overall infant immunization coverage in the WHO African region has stagnated in the past few years while countries' ability to maintain high immunization coverage rates following introduction of new vaccines has been uneven.

This case study examines post-introduction coverage among African countries that introduced PCV (Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine) between 2008 and 2013 and the factors affecting PCV introduction. It was found that nearly one-third of countries did not achieve 80% infant PCV3 coverage by two years post-introduction and more than half of countries experienced a decline in coverage between the second and fourth year. Major factors affecting coverage rates include: introduction without adequate preparation, insufficient supply chain capacity/management, poor communication between organizations and the public, insufficient data systems.

Deliberately addressing these issues as well as longstanding weaknesses during new vaccine introduction can strengthen the immunization and broader health systems. Immunization with PCV is one of the most important interventions protecting against pneumonia, the second leading cause of death for children under five globally.
Authors: Folake Olayinka, Leah Ewald, Robert Steinglass