Vaccines may have a significant economic value that exceeds their original cost, according to Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers.
In what is believed to be among the first studies to examine the potential return on investment of vaccinations, the researchers assessed the economic benefits of vaccines in 94 low- and middle-income countries using projected vaccination rates from 2011 to 2020. When looking only at costs associated with illness, such as treatment costs and productivity losses, the return was $16 for every dollar spent on vaccines. In a separate analysis taking into account the broader economic impact of illness, vaccinations save $44 for every dollar spent.
The study will appear in the February issue of Health Affairs.
“Vaccines are an excellent investment,” says lead author Sachiko Ozawa, PhD, MHS, an assistant scientist in the Department of International Health at the Bloomberg School. “But to reap the potential economic rewards, governments and donors must continue their investments in expanding access to vaccines.”
Without vaccination, millions of children would die from preventable illnesses and diseases across the decade. While billions of dollars will be spent to try and vaccinate more children, the goal of full coverage — that is, getting every child vaccinated — has not yet been met.