To compare inequalities in full infant vaccination coverage at two different time points between 1992 and 2016 in Latin American and Caribbean countries.
Analysis is based on recent available data from Demographic and Health Surveys, Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys, and Reproductive Health Surveys conducted in 18 countries between 1992 and 2016. Full immunization data from children 12–23 months of age were disaggregated by wealth quintile. Absolute and relative inequalities between the richest and the poorest quintile were measured. Differences were measured for 14 countries with data available for two time points. Significance was determined using 95% confidence intervals.
The overall median full immunization coverage was 69.9%. Approximately one-third of the countries have a high-income inequality gap, with a median difference of 5.6 percentage points in 8 of 18 countries. Bolivia, Colombia, El Salvador, and Peru have achieved the greatest progress in improving coverage among the poorest quintiles of their population in recent years.
Full immunization coverage in the countries in the study shows higher-income inequality gaps that are not seen by observing national coverage only, but these differences appear to be reduced over time. Actions monitoring immunization coverage based on income inequalities should be considered for inclusion in the assessment of public health policies to appropriately reduce the gaps in immunization for infants in the lowest-income quintile.