WHO Vaccination Schedules and Updates

Users may want to determine whether a child received the recommended vaccinations at the recommended times. This requires knowledge of the recommended vaccination schedule in place at a given country at a specific time, the child’s age, and the date of the vaccination. This user note describes the changes in recommended vaccination schedules across time and across all countries included in IPUMS-DHS.


The Expanded Program on Immunization

In May 1974, the World Health Organization (WHO) created the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) to increase vaccine coverage among children throughout the world. The success of the smallpox eradication program, based largely on an international vaccination campaign, prompted WHO to implement similar campaigns to eradicate other diseases. The EPI regularly releases vaccination guidelines, and national governments create and implement policies based on these recommendations. Because vaccination schedules are determined by national governments, the schedules may vary between countries. By the early 1980s, all United Nations member states had created their own national EPI.

In 1999, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) was created to increase access to immunization and to improve child health in the poorest countries. GAVI is a global health partnership of UN agencies (including WHO, UNICEF, and the World Bank Group), public health institutions, governments of both donor and implementing countries, non-governmental organizations, the vaccine industry, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and many other public and private institutions. GAVI provides expertise and financial support to make vaccines more affordable and available in poorer countries. When new vaccines are less cost-prohibitive, it becomes easier for the national EPI to add these new vaccines to the schedule.

Recommended Vaccination Schedule

In 1984, the EPI created the first standardized vaccination schedule. In this first incarnation, the schedule recommended the following four vaccines against six diseases:

In the years since the creation of this first schedule, there have been several changes and additions to the vaccine recommendations, based on scientific advancement in vaccine creation and changes in the characteristics and prevalence of diseases worldwide.

Below is a list of vaccines that were added to the recommended schedule, or for which the recommendation has changed significantly over the years:


For more information about recommended vaccinations, users may wish to review the WHO position papers. In 1999, the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) was established to guide vaccination recommendations. SAGE meets twice a year to review information related to immunization and vaccine-related topics and to modify recommendations which are then reflected in the WHO vaccine position papers.

Below you can find links to position papers for vaccines relevant to the Demographic and Health Surveys:

Vaccine Position Papers
BCG 2007, 2004
Diphtheria 2006
Haemophilus influenzae type b 2013, 2006, 1998
Hepatitis B 2009, 2004
Japanese encephalitis 2015, 2006, 1998
Measles 2009, 2004
Mumps 2007, 2001
Pertussis 2015, 2010, 2005, 1999
Pneumococcal 2012, 2007, 2003
Polio 2016, 2014, 2010, 2006, 2003
Rotavirus 2013, 2009, 2007, 2003, 1999
Rubella 2011, 2000
Tetanus 2006
Yellow fever 2013, 2003

For more information about the most recent WHO recommendations, see the "Summary of WHO Position Paper - Recommended Routine Immunizations for Children (updated September 2016)."


Country-Specific Vaccination Schedules

Because each country sets its own standards based on the Expanded Program on Immunization, we recommend users learn more about the vaccine schedules in place in the country of interest during the 3 to 5 years before the survey. The following chart indicates the year in which each country included in IPUMS-DHS introduced the given vaccine throughout the country. Users should be aware that countries often implemented a vaccine in one region of the country before expanding the coverage to the entire nation.

Country IPV HepB Hib HepB birth Pneum. Rota. MR MMR MCV2*
Afghanistan 2015 2006 2009 2014 2014 2018 2018 NA 2004
Angola 2017 2006 2006 2015 2013 2014 2018 NA 2015
Bangladesh 2015 2005 2009 NA 2015 NA 2012 NA 2012
Benin 2015 2002 2005 NA 2011 2018 2018 NA NA
Burkina Faso 2017 2006 2006 NA 2013 2013 2015 NA 2014
Burundi 2015 2004 2004 NA 2011 2013 2017 NA 2013
Cameroon 2015 2005 2009 NA 2011 2014 2017 NA 2018
Congo (DR) 2015 2007 2009 NA 2013 2018 NA NA NA
Cote d'Ivoire 2015 2003 2009 NA 2014 2017 NA NA NA
Egypt 2017 1992 2014 2015 NA NA 1999 1999 1999
Ethiopia 2015 2007 2007 NA 2011 2014 2019 NA 2018
Ghana 2017 2002 2002 NA 2012 2012 2013 NA 2012
Guinea 2015 2006 2008 NA NA NA NA NA NA
India 2015 2011 2015 2008 NA NA NA NA 2011
Kenya 2015 2001 2001 NA 2011 2014 2017 NA 2013
Lesotho 2016 2003 2008 NA 2015 2017 2017 NA 1981
Madagascar 2015 2002 2008 NA 2012 2014 NA NA NA
Malawi 2017 2002 2002 NA 2011 2012 2018 NA 2015
Mali 2016 2002 2007 NA 2011 2015 NA NA NA
Country IPV HepB Hib HepB birth Pneum. Rota. MR MMR MCV2*
Morocco 2015 1999 2007 1999 2010 2010 2014 NA 2014
Mozambique 2015 2001 2009 NA 2013 2015 2018 NA 2015
Myanmar 2015 2005 2012 2004 2016 NA 2015 NA 2012
Namibia 2015 2009 2009 2014 2014 2014 2016 NA 2017
Niger 2015 2008 2008 NA 2014 2014 NA NA 2014
Nigeria 2015 2004 2013 2004 2018 NA NA NA NA
Pakistan 2015 2002 2009 NA 2014 2018 NA NA 2009
Rwanda 2017 2002 2002 NA 2009 2012 2014 NA 2014
Senegal 2015 2004 2005 2016 2013 2014 2013 NA 2014
Sudan 2015 2004 2008 NA 2013 2011 NA NA 2012
Tanzania 2017 2002 2009 NA 2013 2013 2014 NA 2014
Tunisia 2014 1995 2011 2006 NA NA 2004 NA 1981
Uganda 2016 2002 2002 NA 2014 2018 NA NA 2018
Yemen 2015 1999 2005 NA 2011 2012 2015 NA 2004
Zambia 2018 2005 2004 NA 2013 2013 2017 NA 2013
Zimbabwe 2018 1994** 2008 NA 2012 2014 2015 NA 2015
*The addition of a second-dose of a measles-containing vaccine may be the same as the addition of the measles and rubella vaccine. Users should consult the resources listed below for more information.
**Zimbabwe removed the hepatitis B vaccine from the routine immunization schedule due to insufficient funding. The vaccine was permanently added to the schedule in 1999.

Source: http://www.who.int/immunization/monitoring_surveillance/data/en/

For more information about a specific country’s immunization plan, we also recommend the following sources:


1. Countries with risk of yellow fever virus (YFV) transmission: Angola, Argentina, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Republic of the Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, French Guiana, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Suriname, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Venezuela (CDC, January 4, 2017)