Dear Editor,

Ensuring equitable vaccination coverage to prevent bacterial meningitis in Nigeria among school children is a vital public health concern. Bacterial meningitis is a severe infection that affects the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord1. It is caused by a variety of bacteria, including Neisseria meningitidis and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), and can lead to severe complications, including brain damage, hearing loss, and death1. Vaccination is one of the most effective ways to prevent bacterial meningitis, and it is essential to ensure that all school children in Nigeria have access to the vaccines they need2.

One of the major challenges in ensuring equitable immunization coverage in Nigeria is insufficient access to vaccines2. According to the 2021 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) and National Immunization Coverage Survey (NICS), at least 64% of Nigerian children aged 12–23 months have not received all recommended vaccinations in the past five years. Additionally, it demonstrates that between 2016 and 2021, 46% of children had only a partial vaccination3. This is due to a variety of factors, including a lack of infrastructure and resources, limited access to healthcare services, and inadequate education and awareness about the importance of vaccination2.

Another challenge is the low vaccination coverage among certain populations. For example, a study conducted found out that vaccination coverage among children in rural areas was significantly lower than in urban areas4. Additionally, certain ethnic groups and socioeconomic groups may have lower vaccination coverage due to cultural beliefs, lack of access to healthcare services, or other factors5.

To address these challenges, there are several strategies that can be implemented to ensure equitable vaccination coverage among school children in Nigeria. One strategy is to work closely with schools and communities to educate parents and caregivers about the importance of vaccination and the risks of not vaccinating their children6.

Another strategy is to provide vaccinations in accessible and convenient locations, such as schools or community clinics6. Additionally, government and public health officials can work to remove any barriers to vaccination, such as cost or lack of transportation. This could involve providing financial assistance or transportation to those who need it7.

Additionally, community-based participatory techniques that involve community involvement in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of vaccination campaigns can be employed8. For a vaccination program to be successful, it is crucial to build trust and acceptance in the community. Targeting high-risk communities is another method that could be used to achieve fair immunization coverage among Nigerian school children9. By focusing on these demographics, health professionals can be confident that they are reaching the children most at risk of developing bacterial meningitis.

Overall, public health officials can increase vaccination coverage and lower the incidence of bacterial meningitis among schoolchildren in Nigeria by working closely with schools and communities, providing vaccinations in convenient and accessible locations, removing barriers to vaccination, involving communities in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of vaccination campaigns, focusing on high-risk populations, and tracking progress.