Immunization programs have saved millions of lives, especially among children, and will continue to do so in the future

Increases in vaccine coverage and the introduction of new vaccines into LMICs have had a major impact in reducing mortality. Vaccination programs for ten selected pathogens will have averted an estimated 69 million deaths in 98 low- and middle-income countries between 2000 and 2030. Most of this impact has been concentrated in a reduction in mortality among children younger than 5 years (57% reduction), most notably from measles. These public health gains are predicted to increase in coming decades if progress in increasing vaccine coverage is sustained.

Globally, immunization has a high return on investment saving billions of dollars by preventing disability, health costs, and premature deaths

By preventing illness, disability, premature death, lost wages, and other costs, this modeling study found that vaccines against ten pathogens averted $828.5 billion of economic burden in 94 low- and middle-income countries between 2021 and 2030. Immunization programs provided a high return on investment (ROI), with projections for net benefits of vaccine programs estimated at $1,445.3 billion (using a cost-of-illness approach) and $3,371.5 billion (using a value-of-a-statistical-life approach) from 2011 to 2030. For every $1 invested in immunization, there was a return on investment of $20 using cost-of-illness and $52 using a value-of-a-statistical-life approach.

Screening tests in Italy found high rates of infectious diseases in newly-arrived migrants, emphasizing the need for universal screening

Screening tests given to more than 300 newly-arrived economic migrants and asylum seekers in Italy — the majority from sub-Saharan Africa — found high rates of chronic hepatitis B infection and latent and active tuberculosis (with 8% having signs of current infection or active TB). These findings underscore the important of universal screening for infectious diseases for all newly-arrived migrants.

Administering hepatitis B immune globulin to newborns in addition to vaccination prevents more infections and is cost-effective

In a study of different strategies for preventing hepatitis B infections in newborns in a Burmese refugee population with a high infection rate, administering hepatitis B immune globulin to newborns whose mothers test positive through a rapid diagnostic test — in addition to vaccinating all newborns with a birth dose — prevented twice as many infections in newborns than vaccination alone and was cost-effective (while the current strategy of providing immune globulin only after a confirmatory lab test was done was not). Thus, this strategy could be considered for similar marginalized or poor populations.

Universal hepatitis B vaccination for newborns in refugee camps is highly cost-effective

Providing a birth dose of hepatitis B vaccine to all newborns (in addition to routine HepB immunization) was found to be a highly cost-effective means of preventing hepatitis B-related deaths in three refugee populations in Africa which are at extremely high risk of hepatitis B infection. Providing a birth dose only to newborns whose mothers test positive on a rapid diagnostic test was less cost-effective than vaccinating all newborns automatically. Thus, universal hepatitis B vaccination of newborns should remain a priority in refugee camps, despite competing humanitarian needs.

Correctional facilities can provide access to health services for incarcerated adolescents at risk of hepatitis B

Studies have indicated that the prevalence of risky behaviors associated with Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and HIV is high among incarcerated adolescents. In the US, most adolescents sentenced to serve time in correctional facilities are offered preventive vaccination against hepatitis B. Medical clinics in correctional facilities provide an ideal environment for adolescents in high risk settings to obtain access to preventive health services. In certain cases, these facilities even overcome barriers such as parental consent by making these adolescents wards of the state and followed by which preventive services are obtained by the state providing consent.

Cancer survivors experience much higher complications from vaccine-preventable infections

In survivors of pediatric and young adult cancers in the US, the risk of mortality from infectious complications is 4 times higher than in their cancer-naïve siblings. Within the first five years after cancer diagnosis, the risk of some vaccine-preventable infections such as pneumonia and hepatitis is more than 9-fold and 6-fold higher, respectively. More than 5 years after cancer diagnosis, the risk of these two infections remains high at 3.7 and 2.5 times higher than siblings.