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Analysis: Marketing Research Sheds Light On Low Vaccination Rates In Some Developing Countries

Despite progress in raising the vaccination rates in the world’s poorest countries, some countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia and Nigeria continue to have vaccination rates “below 50% in certain regions, compared with the 80% or more needed to achieve a low risk of the disease spreading,” Douglas Holt, Oxford University professor of marketing, and Jacob McKnight, also of Oxford University, write in a analysis piece.

The authors go on to detail a research project the pair is conducting to “diagnose the systemic barriers to effective vaccine delivery in the problematic countries” in hopes of guiding “alternative interventions that will significantly boost routine vaccination rates in countries that are not on track to achieve immunization goals.” The authors present the findings based on interviews with mothers who had not had their children vaccinated in Ethiopia, where “infant vaccination rates are running at about 57%, with huge variation between regions” – urban areas have achieved “rates of at least 90%, while rural areas with politically marginalized populations, such as the Somali region, struggle to immunize at least 20% of their infants.”

The authors conclude: “By analysing the vaccine delivery system from a marketing perspective, we have gained a good idea of the barriers to vaccination from the customers’ perspective, opening the way for a range of innovative solutions, which we are currently exploring” (Holt/McKnight, 9/9).