Measuring equity in vaccination coverage beyond socioeconomic status: Launch of the VERSE Equity Toolkit
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have developed a new standardized toolkit to assess equity in vaccine coverage. The VERSE Equity Toolkit compares the level of vaccine coverage against the level of equity and quantifies the influence of key sociodemographic factors to inequity.
The toolkit is accompanied by a detailed user guide and will be officially launched during a webinar in the last week of May. Stay tuned for further announcements.
To identify what issues impair vaccine coverage, researchers traditionally look for an association with just one variable—wealth, for example—instead of examining the host of factors in play. Typical equity metrics may not appropriately account for the compounding effect of geographic and sociodemographic factors on immunization outcomes, such as, in the case of pediatric immunization, where a household is located, the sex of a child being vaccinated, and maternal education level.
Additionally, when considering issues of equity rather than equality using global health data, it is necessary to account for factors that influence need and eligibility instead of looking at crude disparities. When examining equity in routine pediatric vaccine coverage, need can be simplified to whether a child is old enough to receive a vaccine, while for adult vaccines, need may be multifaceted and include age, risk, and vulnerability criteria.