Published On: Mon, May 18th, 2015

New studies show immunization still best bet in disease prevention

vaccinationDespite becoming increasingly costly in recent years, immunization remains cost-effective and should continue to be considered a public health “best buy”, according to a new series of studies published by the scientific journal Vaccine.

The new studies appear in a special Vaccine supplement titled “Expanding the Evidence Base to Inform Vaccine Introduction: Program Costing and Cost-Effectiveness Analyses.”

The series was coordinated by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) as part of the ProVac initiative to provide evidence to support policy decisions on vaccine programs.

The studies, based on country-led research from around the world, show that with few exceptions, newer vaccines – including pneumococcal, rotavirus, and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines – are cost-effective in countries where there is a substantial disease burden or where treatment costs are high, or both, and if the vaccines can be procured at favorable prices.

The studies that assessed immunization costs and financing, resulting from an initiative led by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, also show that, overall, governments are providing more financing for national immunization programs than previously reported, such that the lion’s share of funding for these programs currently comes from national resources.

The region of the Americas has been a leader in the introduction of new vaccines.

Currently 19 of the region’s countries use the rotavirus vaccine, 28 use the pneumococcus vaccine, and 16 use the HPV vaccine.

Despite the higher costs of these vaccines, countries have successfully introduced sustainability plans for these vaccines and financed their introduction.

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