Number of unvaccinated children on the rise in Ghana

A survey report conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) shows that the percentage of children 24 to 35 months not fully vaccinated based on the national schedule declined by 15.1 percentage points between 2014 and 2022. 

The survey showed that almost three in every five, which was 57.6 per cent in that age range, had not been fully vaccinated according to the national schedule in 2022, compared to about two in every five representing 42.5 per cent in 2014. 

The figures are based on Ghana Demographic and Health Survey data on children for whom vaccination information was recorded on their vaccination cards. 

World Immunisation Day is commemorated annually in the last week of April to promote the use of vaccines to save lives.

According to the data, more than half of children aged 24 to 35 months were not vaccinated according to the national schedule in ten out of the 16 regions.

The Northern Region recorded the highest percentage where four out of every five, representing 81.5 percent, had not been fully vaccinated.

The Western region with 68.5 per cent and the Savannah region with 66.9 percent.

The region with the lowest percentage of children who had not received all age-appropriate vaccines was Volta Region, representing 26.7 per cent followed distantly by Greater Accra with 40.4 per cent. 

The percentage of children aged 24 to 35 months not fully vaccinated according to the national schedule is marginally lower in urban areas with 56.3 per cent relative to rural of 58.9 per cent.

The survey revealed that a higher percentage of girls, representing 59.6 per cent had not been fully vaccinated in comparison to boys, with 55.6 per cent. 

It further said vaccination coverage varied markedly by maternal education, ranging from seven in every 10, representing 71.6 per cent for children whose mothers had no education, to four in every 10, representing 43.9 per cent for children whose mothers had higher than secondary education.   

Among children aged 12 to 23 months, the survey said more than two in every five children, representing 44.5 per cent, were not fully vaccinated according to the national schedule in 2022, representing an increase of 6.7 percentage points from 2014 with 37.8 per cent. 

Ms Sarah Woode, Principal Statistician, GSS, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, said that though the survey did not ask the reason for the decline, it was assumed that it was due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic since the research was conducted in 2020.

Ms Woode said the figures would provide authorities with timely information for policy intervention regarding vaccination and other health-related issues.

That, she stated, was critical because vaccination helped to prevent diseases like polio, yellow fever, among others.

The data, she stressed, would enable the government to intensify education on the importance of vaccination, especially for mothers who were reluctant to attend postnatal and antenatal care.

Source: GNA

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