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No Data IS Data: What existing but untapped disaggregated data tells us about inequalities in vaccination rates in the Global South

19 January 2023

Given the importance of data when seeking to better understand health programmes and key aspects of global health such as vaccination, this report cogently argues that current data sets concerning immunisation need to take into serious consideration an inclusion focused and human rights-based approach.

The research that underpins this collaborative report written by Minority Rights Group (as part of the CREID project), clearly shows that current data on immunisation programmes lack precise and representative data on minority groups. This comes with the risk that groups may still be left behind, with the ability to track or respond to this severely limited.

At the mid-point of the Sustainable Development Goals period, with just seven years left until 2030 and in order to deliver on the central commitment of the Leave No One Behind campaign, this report argues that clear data about which groups are at risk of neglect is currently absent. The brief assesses the available data regarding childhood routine vaccinations and ethnicity, language and religion and offers suggestions on the relationship between childhood vaccinations and diversity across several countries.

No Data IS Data has identified gaps in the uptake of life-saving vaccines for children as well as data collected, analyzed or published in the most recent international health surveys and reports covering 71 countries. The analysis shows that 48 years after the inception of WHO’s Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI), it is still difficult to quantify or understand the uptake of vaccination of minority communities.

In an effort to advance data equity, this report argues that the entire data analysis process, including the collection, storing, analysing and sharing of data should take good care that vulnerable or marginalized groups are properly represented. Furthermore, the authors argue that all regional, national and internationally comparable surveys should operate according to the five principles of the Inclusive Data Collection Charter, in the context of which all populations must be considered in the dataset and all data must be disaggregated and retrieved fairly and in a representative manner.

The brief is supported with graphs and visuals that provide a concise and easy-to-grasp account of current limitations in the immunisation datasets, particularly in terms of a lack of representation of ethnic, linguistic and religious inclusivity and diversity within current vaccination monitoring and data collection programmes at the international level.

Download (PDF, English)
Download the methodology annex (PDF, English)


Claire Thomas

Co-Executive Director

Minority Rights Group