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J Relig Health. 2017 Oct;56(5):1692-1700. doi: 10.1007/s10943-017-0435-8.

How to Increase Vaccination Acceptance Among Apostolic Communities: Quantitative Results from an Assessment in Three Provinces in Zimbabwe.

Author information

1
Ministry of Health and Child Care, Harare, Zimbabwe.
2
Inter-country Support Team for East and Southern Africa, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa, Harare, Zimbabwe.
3
Global Immunization Division, Center for Global Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA.
4
Division of Global Health Protection, Center for Global Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA.
5
WHO Country Office, Harare, Zimbabwe.
6
Inter-country Support Team for East and Southern Africa, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa, Harare, Zimbabwe. rik9@cdc.gov.
7
Global Immunization Division, Center for Global Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA. rik9@cdc.gov.
8
Division of Global Health Protection, Center for Global Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA. rik9@cdc.gov.
9
CDC Sierra Leone, Freetown, Sierra Leone. rik9@cdc.gov.

Abstract

A worldwide increasing trend toward vaccine hesitancy has been reported. Measles outbreaks in southern Africa in 2009-2010 were linked to objections originating from Apostolic gatherings. Founded in Zimbabwe in the 1950s, the Apostolic church has built up a large number of followers with an estimated 3.5 million in Zimbabwe in 2014. To inform planning of interventions for the 2015 measles-rubella vaccination campaign, we assessed vaccination status and knowledge, attitudes and practices among purposive samples of Apostolic caregivers in three districts each in Harare City, Manicaland and Matabeleland South in Zimbabwe. We conducted structured interviews among 97 caregivers of children aged 9-59 months and collected vaccination status for 126 children. Main Apostolic affiliations were Johanne Marange (53%), Madida (13%) and Gospel of God (11%) with considerable variation across assessment areas. The assessment also showed considerable variation among Apostolic communities in children ever vaccinated (14-100%) and retention of immunization cards (0-83%) of ever vaccinated. Overall retention of immunization cards (12%) and documented vaccination status by card (fully vaccinated = 6%) were low compared to previously reported measures in the general population. Mothers living in monogamous relationships reported over 90% of all DTP-HepB-Hib-3, measles and up to date immunizations during the first life year documented by immunization card. Results revealed opportunities to educate about immunization during utilization of health services other than vaccinations, desire to receive information about vaccinations from health personnel, and willingness to accept vaccinations when offered outside of regular services. Based on the results of the assessment, specific targeted interventions were implemented during the vaccination campaign, including an increased number of advocacy activities by district authorities. Also, health workers offered ways and timing to vaccinate children that catered to the specific situation of Apostolic caregivers, including flexible service provision after hours and outside of health facilities, meeting locations chosen by caregivers, using mobile phones to set up meeting locations, and documentation of vaccination in health facilities if home-based records posed a risk for caregivers. Coverage survey results indicate that considerable progress has been made since 2010 to increase vaccination acceptability among Apostolic communities in Zimbabwe. Further efforts will be needed to vaccinate all Apostolic children during routine and campaign activities in the country, and the results from our assessment can contribute toward this goal.

KEYWORDS:

Apostolic community; Vaccination acceptance; Vaccination confidence; Vaccination hesitancy

PMID:
28624983
PMCID:
PMC5711555
[Available on 2018-10-01]
DOI:
10.1007/s10943-017-0435-8
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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