Back to browse results
Characterization of immunization secondary analyses using demographic and health surveys (DHS) and multiple indicator cluster surveys (MICS), 2006–2018
Authors: Yue Huang and M. Carolina Danovaro-Holliday
Source: BMC Public Health, Volume 21, Article number: 351; DOI:
Topic(s): Data use
Country: More than one region
  Multiple Regions
Published: FEB 2021
Abstract: Background Infant immunization coverage worldwide has plateaued at about 85%. Using existing survey data to conduct analyses beyond estimating coverage may help immunization programmes better tailor strategies to reach un- and under-immunized children. The Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) and the Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey (MICS), routinely conducted in low and middle-income countries (LMICs), collect immunization data, yet vaccination coverage is often the only indicator reported and used. We conducted a review of published immunization-related analyses to characterize and quantify immunization secondary analyses done using DHS and MICS databases. Methods We conducted a systematic search of the literature, of immunization-related secondary analyses from DHS or MICS published between 2006 and August 2018. We searched 15 electronic databases without language restrictions. For the articles included, relevant information was extracted and analyzed to summarize the characteristics of immunization-related secondary analyses. Results are presented following the PRISMA guidelines. Results Among 1411 papers identified, 115 met our eligibility criteria; additionally, one article was supplemented by the Pan American Health Organization. The majority were published since 2012 (77.6%), and most (68.9%) had a first or corresponding author affiliated with institutions in high-income countries (as opposed to LMICs where these surveys are conducted). The median delay between survey implementation and publication of the secondary analysis was 5.4 years, with papers with authors affiliated to institutions in LMIC having a longer median publication delay (p < 0.001). Over 80% of the published analyses looked at factors associated with a specific vaccine or with full immunization. Quality proxies, such as reporting percent of immunization data from cards vs recall; occurrence and handling of missing data; whether survey analyses were weighted; and listing of potential biases or limitations of the original survey or analyses, were infrequently mentioned. Conclusion Our review suggests that more needs to be done to increase the increase the utilization of existing DHS and MICS datasets and improve the quality of the analyses to inform immunization programmes. This would include increasing the proportion of analyses done in LMICs, reducing the time lag between survey implementation and publication of additional analyses, and including more qualitative information about the survey in the publications to better interpret the results.