Coverage rates for immunization have dropped in lower income countries during the COVID-19 pandemic, raising concerns regarding potential outbreaks and premature death. In order to re-invigorate immunization service delivery, sufficient financing must be made available from all sources, and particularly from government resources. This study utilizes the most recent data available to provide an updated comparison of available data sources on government spending on immunization.
We examined data from WHO/UNICEF’s Joint Reporting Form (JRF), country Comprehensive Multi-Year Plan (cMYP), country co-financing data for Gavi, and WHO National Health Accounts (NHA) on government spending on immunization for consistency by comparing routine and vaccine spending where both values were reported. We also examined spending trends across time, quantified underreporting and utilized concordance analyses to assess the magnitude of difference between the data sources.
Routine immunization spending reported through the cMYP was nearly double that reported through the JRF (rho = 0.64, 95% 0.53 to 0.77) and almost four times higher than that reported through the NHA on average (rho = 3.71, 95% 1.00 to 13.87). Routine immunization spending from the JRF was comparable to spending reported in the NHA (rho = 1.30, 95% 0.97 to 1.75) and vaccine spending from the JRF was comparable to that from the cMYP data (rho = 0.97, 95% 0.84 to 1.12). Vaccine spending from both the JRF and cMYP was higher than Gavi co-financing by a at least two (rho = 2.66, 95% 2.45 to 2.89) and (rho = 2.66, 95% 2.15 to 3.30), respectively.
Overall, our comparative analysis provides a degree of confidence in the validity of existing reporting mechanisms for immunization spending while highlighting areas for potential improvements. Users of these data sources should factor these into consideration when utilizing the data. Additionally, partners should work with governments to encourage more reliable, comprehensive, and accurate reporting of vaccine and immunization spending.
Ikilezi G, Bachmeier SD, Cogswell IE, Maddison ER, Stutzman HN, Tsakalos G, Brenzel L, Dieleman JL, Micah AE. Tracking government spending on immunization: The joint reporting forms, national health accounts, comprehensive multi-year plans and co-financing data. Vaccine. 8 June 2021. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2021.04.047.