Pan African Medical Journal
Introduction: in 2014, Tanzania introduced the combined measles-rubella vaccine in the routine immunization schedule. Two doses of measles-rubella vaccine (MR1 and MR2) are recommended at 9 and 18 months, respectively. In 2015, MR2 coverage among eligible 18-month-old children in Tanzania was only 57%, lower than the WHO-recommended coverage (95%). During the same period Mtwara District Council (MDC) reported a coverage of 52% which is lower than the nation average. We determined factors associated with non-uptake of MR2 among children in MDC Tanzania.
Methods: we conducted a community-based cross-sectional survey using cluster sampling during January - April 2017 in MDC. Caretakers of children born during January 2014 - January 2015 and residing in MDC for the past three years were recruited. We interviewed participants and reviewed vaccination cards. Logistic regression modeling was employed to identify independent factors associated with uptake of MR2.
Results: of 1,000 children assessed, 558 (55.8%) were unvaccinated with MR2. Factors independently associated with non-uptake of MR2 included the caretaker being unaware of the ages for MR1 and MR2 administration [aOR=3.50; 95%CI 1.98-6.21; p<0.001], having MR2 vaccination services offered at the local vaccination station fewer than three days per week [aOR=1.50; 95%CI 1.42-5.59; p<0.001], not having the vaccine available during vaccination days [aOR=3.38; 95%CI 1.08-10.61; p<0.01], unwillingness of health workers to open multi-dose vaccine vials for a single child [aOR=3.80; 95% CI 2.12-6.79; p<0.001], and long waiting times for vaccination services [aOR=1.80; 95% CI 1.08-3.00; p<0.01].
Conclusion: more than half the children under five years in MDC were not vaccinated with MR2. Lack of caretaker knowledge about appropriate vaccination age, unavailability of vaccine, having insufficient numbers of children waiting to warrant multidose vial use, and long clinic waiting times were associated with MR2 non-uptake. The community should receive education about MR vaccine; we recommend thorough screening of children?s vaccination status at each clinic visit and provision of vaccine whenever possible. Vaccine distribution should be improved in MDC.