The Transition to an Entirely Digital Immunization Registry in Ha Noi Province and Son La Province, Vietnam: Readiness Assessment Study

JMIR Form Res. 2021 Oct 25;5(10):e28096. doi: 10.2196/28096.


Background: Vietnam is one of the first low- to middle-income countries to develop and implement a national-scale electronic immunization registry. This system was finalized into the National Immunization Information System (NIIS) and scaled up to a national-level system in 2017. As a result, immunization coverage and the timeliness of vaccinations have drastically improved. The time spent on planning and reporting vaccinations has drastically reduced; as a result, vaccination planning and reporting has become more accurate and effective. However, to date, end users have been tasked with managing both the NIIS and paper-based systems in parallel until a formal assessment of the readiness to fully transition to the NIIS is conducted.

Objective: This study aims to evaluate the readiness to move to an entirely digital NIIS in 2 provinces of Vietnam-Ha Noi and Son La.

Methods: All health facilities were surveyed to assess their infrastructure, capacity, and need for human resources. NIIS end users were observed and interviewed to evaluate their NIIS knowledge and skill sets. Data from immunization cards and facility paper-based logbooks were compared with data from the NIIS, and vaccine stocks at selected facilities were tallied and compared with data from the NIIS.

Results: Of the 990 health facilities evaluated, most used the NIIS to enter and track immunizations (987/990, 99.7%) and vaccine stocks (889/990, 90.8%). Most had stable electricity (971/990, 98.1%), at least 1 computer (986/990, 99.6%), and ≥2 trained NIIS end users (825/990, 83.3%). End users reported that the NIIS supported them in managing and reporting immunization data and saving them time (725/767, 94.5%). Although many end users were able to perform basic skills, almost half struggled with performing more complex tasks. Immunization data were compiled from the NIIS and immunization cards (338/378, 89.4%) and paper-based logbooks (254/269, 94.4%). However, only 54.5% (206/378) of immunization IDs matched, 57% (13/23) of Bacillus Calmette-Guérin vaccination records were accurate, and 70% (21/30) of the facilities had consistent physical vaccine stock balances. The feedback received from NIIS end users suggests that more supportive supervision, frequent refresher training for strengthening their skill sets, and detailed standardized guides for improving data quality are needed.

Conclusions: The readiness to transition to a digital system is promising; however, additional resources are required to address the timeliness, completeness, and accuracy of the data.

Keywords: Vietnam; electronic immunization records; immunization registry; immunizations; readiness assessment.