Research

Human vaccine and immunisation research in South Africa: A bibliometric study

M I Majiet, E C Haddison, E Amponsah-Dacosta, G D Hussey, R Muloiwa, B M Kagina

Abstract


Background. Research in human vaccines and immunisation plays a crucial role in shaping national, regional and global health policies aimed at controlling vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs). To our knowledge, the landscape of human vaccine and immunisation research in South Africa (SA) is not well characterised.

Objectives. To characterise research in human vaccines and immunisation in SA.

Methods. We conducted a bibliometric study. Seven electronic databases (PubMed; Scopus; Web of Science; Cochrane; CINAHL; Africa-Wide Information; and MEDLINE (via EBSCOhost)) were searched for eligible studies published in English between 1 January 2007 and 31 March 2020. Selected primary studies needed to be on human vaccine and immunisation research conducted in SA. All types of reviews were excluded. For the included studies, outcomes of interest included publication journals, publication trends, types of studies and VPDs, targeted populations, as well as author affiliations.

Results. A total of 9 212 studies was retrieved. After screening for eligibility, 366 studies met the inclusion criteria. The key findings were as follows: (i) a total of 54 (14.8 %) articles on human vaccine and immunisation research in SA appeared in local journals, while 312 (85.2%) were in non-SA (international) journals; (ii) the number of publications on human vaccine and immunisation research in SA increased from 13 in 2007 to 47 in 2015; (iii) there were 189 (51.7%) operational studies and 177 (48.3%) clinical studies, with 88 (49.7%) of the latter being clinical trials; (iv) human vaccine and immunisation research in SA is conducted across all age groups, with a focus on children; and (v) authors of the identified research outputs and those mostly represented were from the universities of Cape Town and the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

Conclusions. The landscape of human vaccine and immunisation research in SA is growing and adapting to the emerging trends in vaccinology, with a focus on the duo epidemic of HIV and TB, as well as Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI)-related vaccinations. This research contributes to locally relevant evidence that can be used to inform future vaccine and EPI-related research.


Authors' affiliations

M I Majiet, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

E C Haddison, Saa District Health Service, Centre Regional Delegation of Public Health, Saa, Cameroon

E Amponsah-Dacosta, Vaccines for Africa Initiative (VACFA), School of Public Health and Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

G D Hussey, Vaccines for Africa Initiative (VACFA), School of Public Health and Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town; and Division of Medical Microbiology, Institute of Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

R Muloiwa, Vaccines for Africa Initiative (VACFA), School of Public Health and Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town; and Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Groote Schuur Hospital and University of Cape Town, South Africa

B M Kagina, Vaccines for Africa Initiative (VACFA), School of Public Health and Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

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Keywords

Vaccines; Vaccinology; Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI); Research; Immunisation; Vaccine preventable diseases; South Africa

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2021;111(7):649-654. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2021.v111i7.15120

Article History

Date submitted: 2021-06-30
Date published: 2021-06-30

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