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Background: Missed immunisation against vaccine preventable diseases is a significant public health problem especially in rural areas of Nigeria. The reasons for missed immunisation are poorly understood. This study, therefore, identified the reasons for missed immunisation in the rural areas of Abakaliki, Nigeria.
Materials and Methods: Descriptive analytical cross- sectional study design was used for the survey. Data were extracted from immunisation registers and also collected using semi-structured interviewer administered questionnaire from 290 mothers/caregivers accessing childhood immunisation services in Mile Four and St.Vincent hospitals which were selected using systematic sampling technique. Analysis was done using IBM-SPSS version 22.0 and level of statistical significance set at p< 0.05 and confidence level at 95%. Ethical approval was obtained from the Research and Ethics Committee of the Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, Nigeria.
Results: The mean age of respondents was 27.1±4.2 years. No money for transport (4.1%), forgot appointment date (4.8%), caregiver travelled (2.1%), baby was sick (6.2%) and vaccines not available (2.8%) were the main reasons for missed immunisation in both groups. Being a male caregiver was a predictor of missed immunisation in this study.
Conclusion: The reasons for missed immunisations identified in this study need to be addressed both individually and collectively by the government so as to enhance immunisation timeliness and improve the percentage of fully immunised children especially in rural areas where the immunisation coverage is far below the expected national coverage.