Immunization is one of the world’s most cost-effective public health interventions, saving millions of lives and protecting countless children from illness and disability.
The Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) 2017 shows that almost all young children in Tajikistan have a vaccination card (97 per cent of children aged 12-23 months and 96 per cent of children aged 24-35 months). The DHS 2017 field staff saw the records for 90 per cent of children aged 12-23 months and 88 per cent of children aged 24-35 months, either at home or at a health facility.
Vaccination coverage is high in Tajikistan. Among children aged 24-35 months, DHS 2017 data shows that 82 per cent had received all basic vaccinations at the time of the survey, and only 3 per cent had received no vaccinations. Of the basic vaccinations, coverage is highest for the BCG vaccine (96 per cent), followed closely by DPT, HepB-Hib 1 and Polio 1 (92 per cent each). Coverage remains high for subsequent doses of the DPT-HepB-Hib and polio vaccines, with 87 per cent of children having received the third doses of each of these vaccines. Eighty-seven per cent of children aged 24-35 months have been vaccinated against measles and rubella.
Vaccination coverage is generally lower among urban children than rural children. For example, 84 per cent of children aged 24-35 months in rural areas have received all basic vaccinations, compared with 76 per cent of children in urban areas.
There are concerns about ‘vaccine hesitancy’ – a growing mistrust of immunization among some parents, fuelled by myths and misinformation. Such hesitancy may stem from negative media stories linking a child’s death to immunization without the full facts. It may also be influenced by the country’s anti-vaccine movements, which spreads anti-immunization messages. Meanwhile, measures to counter vaccine hesitancy and build parental trust in immunization are hampered by lack of discussion with parents about its importance and the minimal risks.
UNICEF knows that the best defence against the spread of vaccine-preventable childhood diseases is a vaccine-protected population and a strong and responsive health system.
The whole world benefits when ALL countries achieve and maintain high vaccine coverage.
The Government of Tajikistan prioritizes the national immunization programme and is investing in health system strengthening to reach the most vulnerable children with life-saving immunizations.
Working with the Government, Gavi (The Vaccine Alliance), the World Health Organization, and non-governmental organizations, UNICEF Tajikistan is supporting the provision of quality-assured vaccine supplies. It is also mobilizing the funding and technical assistance needed to strengthen the management of national immunization programmes, to reach those who are not immunized.
UNICEF is supporting national and local information campaigns to educate the public on the critical importance of immunization, while addressing vaccine hesitancy, building public trust, tackling dangerous myths and combating misinformation. It also works closely with the Government to equip parents and communities with the knowledge they need to protect their children.
UNICEF Tajikistan is supporting the training of frontline health workers on how to inform families about the benefits of immunization and to reinforce government efforts to monitor public attitudes and immunization rates, to tackle any problems as quickly as possible.
Vaccines are safe. It is far more likely to be seriously injured by a vaccine-preventable disease than by a vaccine. For example, polio can cause paralysis, measles can cause encephalitis and blindness, and some vaccine-preventable diseases can even result in death.