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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU Study Urges More Access to Vaccines in India

In India, the public sector offers vaccination services to the majority of the population, but the government could train and incentivize a wider range of private-sector professionals to assist, a study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) suggests.

Mr. Abhishek Sharma, a recent graduate of BUSPH, was lead author of the first nationwide analysis of private-sector vaccination delivery in India, published in the journal Health Policy and Planning. The Government of India (GOI) provides basic vaccines free of cost to the public and has urged an expanded private-sector role to help achieve universal coverage, but the state-specific contributions of the private sector were unknown prior to the study.

Mr. Sharma and co-author Dr. Warren Kaplan, assistant professor of global health, conducted a state-by-state analysis of the role of the private sector in vaccinating Indian children (90 percent of India’s 2009-2012 birth cohort of about 104 million children) against six primary childhood diseases covered under India’s Universal Immunization Programme. The study found that while the public sector offers the vast majority of vaccination services, the GOI needs to strengthen those services.

“The GOI should not ignore the private sector and should incentivize it to improve vaccination outreach and coverage, especially in the ‘priority’ states and other marginalized populations,” the authors said.

The paper was the winner of the 2015 Rex Fendall Award for Excellence in Public Health Writing conferred by SPH.

To read more about the study, go to: