VoICE : Search Immunization Evidence

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The VoICE tool is a compendium of the many direct and downstream impacts of vaccine-preventable disease and immunization. The database contains summary explanations of the link between immunization and each impact, as well as sources of evidence for each link. You can browse the VoICE tool by topic, or use the filters to find results based on topic, disease or vaccine, location and published year.

40 Key Ideas, 30 Sources
Key Idea

In 41 Gavi-eligible countries it is estimated that, in the absence of measles vaccination, the occurrence of Medical Impoverishment (MI) or households falling below the poverty line due to medical expenditures to manage measles disease would be 5.3 million. With current coverage rates, 700 thousand households would suffer MI. If Gavi support afforded enhanced coverage, the estimate of households suffering MI would decrease to 500 thousand.

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Key Idea

In a study modeling the economic impact of immunization in 41 low- and middle-income countries, the authors estimate that 24 million cases of medical impoverishment would be averted through the use of vaccines administered from 2016-2030. The largest proportion of poverty cases averted would occur in the poorest 40% of these populations, demonstrating that vaccination can provide financial risk protection to the most economically vulnerable.

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Key Idea

Children living in the Yida refugee camp in South Sudan in 2013 were found to have an elevated rate of pneumonia infections likely due to malnutrition, overcrowding, and inadequate shelter. Using these data, the CDC estimated that the use of Hib and pneumococcal vaccines in children under 2 years of age in the camp would be cost-effective under all dosing scenarios evaluated. Medecines Sans Frontiers (MSF) provided medical services to this refugee camp and found delivery of these vaccines to be feasible and effective in this setting.

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Key Idea

Findings of a systematic review evaluating the relationship between pneumonia and malnourishment found that severely malnourished children in developing countries had 2.5 to 15 times the risk of death. For children with moderate malnutrition, the risk of death ranged from 1.2 to 36.

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Key Idea

In a study of nearly 40,000 recipients of PCV7 and control subjects in northern California, there was a 5.4% reduction in the number of antibiotic prescriptions and a 12.6% reduction in the use of “second-line antibiotics” among children who received the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. Between the time the first dose was administered and the age of 3.5 years, use of the vaccine prevented 35 antibiotic prescriptions per 100 fully vaccinated children.

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Key Idea

In 41 Gavi-eligible countries, it is estimated that without any rotavirus vaccine (RVV) coverage, an estimated 2.2 million Catastrophic Health Costs (CHC) cases and 600,000 Medical Impoverishment (MI) cases would occur due to rotavirus gastroenteritis. Unfortunately these figures would not significantly decrease under the current immunization forecasts because very few countries have introduced the RVV. However, with the introduction of RVV the number of CHC cases would drop to 1.3 million and MI cases to 400,000, representing a 40% reduction.

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Key Idea

A study looking at the impact of pneumococcal vaccine introduction and scaling up pneumonia treatment in Ethiopia found that 30-40% of all deaths averted by these interventions would be expected to occur in the poorest wealth quintile. The greatest resulting financial risk protection would also be concentrated among the bottom income quintile.

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Key Idea

It is estimated that under current vaccine coverage trends in 41 Gavi-eligible countries, enhanced Gavi funding would help to avoid out-of-pocket health expenditures in an amount that surpasses US$4.5 billion attributable to measles, US$168 million attributable to severe pneumococcal disease, and US$200 million attributable to severe rotavirus.

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Key Idea

This study based on active surveillance in the US before and after introduction of PCV estimated 38,000 cases of invasive pneumococcal disease were averted in the first 5 years of vaccine use, at an estimated cost of US$112,000 per life year saved. However, after inclusion of 71,000 cases of disease that were prevented through herd effects, researchers estimate a cost of US$7,500 per life year saved.

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Key Idea

PCV7 use in Argentina resulted in an estimated cost of US$5,599 per life year gained and the purchase of the 4 doses of vaccine for the entire cohort at a cost of US$26.5 dose would require an investment of US$73,823,806.

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Assuming 90% coverage, a program in The Gambia using a 9-valent PCV (PCV9) would prevent approximately 630 hospitalizations, 40 deaths, and 1,000 DALYs over the first 5 years of life of a birth cohort. The estimated cost would be US$670 per DALY averted in The Gambia.

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Key Idea

A study looking at the impact of pneumococcal vaccine introduction and scaling up pneumonia treatment in Ethiopia found that 30-40% of all deaths averted by these interventions would be expected to occur in the poorest wealth quintile. The greatest resulting financial risk protection would also be concentrated among the bottom income quintile.

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In a financial risk model analysis of 41 Gavi-eligible countries, the burden of Catastrophic Health Costs (CHC) and Medical Impoverishment (MI) would be greatest in the lowest income populations. With expanded vaccine coverage, the share of prevented cases of measles, pneumococcal disease, and rotavirus, in relation to the total number of cases prevented, would be larger in the lowest income populations thereby providing a larger financial risk protection (FRP) to these populations.

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Key Idea

In 41 Gavi-eligible countries it is estimated that, in the absence of any measles vaccine use, approximately 18.9 million households would have Catastrophic Health Costs (CHC) attributable to measles. The number of CHC decreases to 3.4 million households in these countries if the current vaccine coverage forecasts is unchanged and decreases to 2.6 million cases if coverage was enhanced with Gavi support. Overall, optimizing vaccine coverage for measles can reduce by approximately 90% the incidence of CHC due to measles disease.

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Key Idea

In a study in The Gambia – a setting where healthcare is free of charge to patients – pneumococcal disease nonetheless placed a heavy financial burden on families seeking treatment before arrival at the hospital, with families paying for transportation costs, drugs, diagnostic tests and even burial in the case of death. 50-80% of the cost of treating an episode of pneumococcal disease was born by the health system, which still left families to cover a cost up to 10 times their average daily household budget. In addition the estimated treatment cost for inpatient pneumonia of US$109 is nearly 4 times the annual per capita expenditure for health in The Gambia.

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Key Idea

It is estimated that in 41 Gavi-eligible countries, approximately 6.6 million households would suffer Catastrophic Health Costs (CHC) in the absence of pneumococcal vaccine coverage. Due to the current absence of a pneumococcal immunization plan in many of these countries, the number of CHC cases would only decrease slightly to 6.4 million with current immunization programs. If pneumococcal vaccine programs would be implemented or expanded with Gavi support, the number of households experiencing CHC would decrease to 4.6 million – a decrease of approximately 30%.
Similarly, the estimates of medical impoverishment without vaccine coverage in this model showed that pneumococcal disease would cause 800,000 households to fall under the poverty line.

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Vaccines that can protect against pneumonia – Hib and S. pneumoniae vaccines – can together prevent over 1.25 million cases of poverty over 15 years, found researchers modeling the economic impact of immunization in 41 low- and middle-income countries.

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Key Idea

A study analyzing the long-term consequences of middle ear disease in children in an urban health center and a private practice in the United States found that time spent with middle ear effusion during the first 3 years of life was significantly associated with lower school performance and lower scores in cognitive ability, speech, and language.

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Key Idea

In The Gambia, 58% of children who survived a bout of pneumococcal meningitis “had clinical sequelae; half of them had major disability preventing normal adaptation to social life” (mental retardation, hearing loss, motor abnormalities, seizures).

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In a systematic literature review of studies in Africa, it was found that one quarter of children who survived pneumococcal or Hib meningitis had neuropsychological deficits.

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Key Idea

In a study in The Gambia – a setting where healthcare is free of charge to patients – pneumococcal disease nonetheless placed a heavy financial burden on families seeking treatment before arrival at the hospital, with families paying for transportation costs, drugs, diagnostic tests and even burial in the case of death. 50-80% of the cost of treating an episode of pneumococcal disease was born by the health system, which still left families to cover a cost up to 10 times their average daily household budget. In addition the estimated treatment cost for inpatient pneumonia of US$109 is nearly 4 times the annual per capita expenditure for health in The Gambia.

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Key Idea

Among both HIV positive and HIV negative parents in a study in Kenya, 99% of pneumococcal strains found and tested were resistant to one or more antibiotics. HIV positive parents carried 16% more strains that were resistant to penicillin than those carried by HIV negative parents.

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In a study of national surveillance records in South Africa, HIV positive people over 5 years of age were found to have a 43-fold risk of invasive pneumococcal disease compared to HIV negative person. This risk was highest among children age 5-19 who were found have a more than 120-fold risk of invasive pneumococcal disease compared to HIV negative uninfected children of the same age. 90% of South Africa’s invasive pneumococcal disease cases during the 5 year period occurred in the 18% of the population who are HIV positive.

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Key Idea

A review of evidence for the use of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in South Africa showed that children who are HIV positive are at significantly increased risk of pneumococcal disease, and so will benefit the most from vaccination, despite decreased vaccine efficacy in this group compared to healthy children.

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A large randomized controlled trial of a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in South Africa found that use of the vaccine prevented 10 times as many cases of pneumococcal pneumonia in HIV positive children than in HIV negative children.

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Key Idea

Nearly a quarter of a million children are born with sickle cell disease in Africa each year. SCD was found to increase the risk of Hib infections by 13-fold and pneumococcal infections by 36 fold. This means that children with SCD stand to benefit enormously from PCV and Hib immunization.

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In a long-term study of Canadian surveillance data researchers found that immunocompromised people were at a 12-fold risk of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) compared to healthy people. In addition, the risk of death from IPD in immunocompromised people was found to be 30-80% higher than healthy individuals who had contracted IPD. 10 years after introduction of PCV7 in Canada, the incidence of IPD due to serotypes included in the vaccine had decreased by 90%.

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Key Idea

A study in the US found that the incidence of invasive pneumococcal disease was 22 to 38 times higher in adults with cancer than in healthy adults.

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Key Idea

In a long-term study of Canadian surveillance data researchers found that immunocompromised people were at a 12-fold risk of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) compared to healthy people. In addition, the risk of death from IPD in immunocompromised people was found to be 30-80% higher than healthy individuals who had contracted IPD.

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Key Idea

A publicly funded 23vPPV (23 valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine) program in Victoria, Australia not only dramatically increased vaccination coverage among the elderly in the public purchase program, but in other Australian states and territories that did not have a public program, the number of prescriptions issued for 23vPPV actually increased over the same period.

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Key Idea

A study looking at the impact of pneumococcal vaccine introduction and scaling up pneumonia treatment in Ethiopia found that 30-40% of all deaths averted by these interventions would be expected to occur in the poorest wealth quintile. Scaling up PCV13 to levels achieved with DTP3 in Ethiopia would be expected to avert nearly 3000 child deaths and 60,000 episodes of pneumococcal pneumonia annually, not including any potential herd benefit. A publicly financed program to scale up pneumococcal vaccines would cost about US$40 per year of healthy life gained.

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Key Idea

A study modeling the economic impact of 10 childhood immunizations in 41 low- and middle-income countries found that the bulk of poverty averted through vaccination occurs in poor populations. For most of the vaccines in the study, at least 40% of the poverty averted would occur in the poorest wealth quintile. Particularly for pneumonia, more than half of the two million deaths averted by pneumococcal and Hib vaccines would occur in the poorest 40% of the population.

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Key Idea

This study from South Africa demonstrates significant declines in invasive pneumococcal disease cases caused by bacteria that are resistant to one or more antibiotics. In fact, the rate of infections resistant to two different antibiotics declined nearly twice as much as infections that could be treated with antibiotics.

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Key Idea

2 of the 18 drug-resistant threats to US health security identified in a 2013 CDC report are potentially vaccine-preventable.

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Key Idea

Among both HIV positive and HIV negative parents in a study in Kenya, 99% of pneumococcal strains found and tested were resistant to one or more antibiotics. HIV positive parents carried 16% more strains that were resistant to penicillin than those carried by HIV negative parents.

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Key Idea

Reductions in the number of days that patients received antibiotic therapy have been documented among day-care attendees in Israel who received the 9-valent conjugate vaccine. Children who received vaccine had 10% fewer days of antibiotic usage for upper respiratory tract infections, 47% fewer days of antibiotic usage for lower respiratory tract infections, and 20% fewer days of antibiotic usage for otitis media (ear infections) as compared to children who did not receive PCV.

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In a study of nearly 40,000 recipients of PCV7 and control subjects in northern California, there was a 5.4% reduction in the number of antibiotic prescriptions and a 12.6% reduction in the use of “second-line antibiotics” among children who received the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. Between the time the first dose was administered and the age of 3.5 years, use of the vaccine prevented 35 antibiotic prescriptions per 100 fully vaccinated children.

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Key Idea

The US CDC identifies the use of vaccines as one of the 4 critical steps for controlling the spread of antibiotic resistance.

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A systematic review of studies from India found that prior to widespread use of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, antibiotic resistance in serious pneumoccocal infections among Indian children has been common. Penicillin resistance was found in 10% of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) cases, while trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole resistance was found in more than 80% of these cases.

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Key Idea

In a study modeling the cost-effectiveness of vaccination campaigns in Somalia – the country with the second largest number of refugees in 2012 – the use of Hib vaccine, PCV10, or both Hib and PCV10 were all found to be cost effective means to prevent excess morbidity and mortality from pneumonia in young Somali children. Such a vaccination campaign could conservatively reduce pneumonia cases and deaths by nearly 20%.

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Children living in the Yida refugee camp in South Sudan in 2013 were found to have an elevated rate of pneumonia infections likely due to malnutrition, overcrowding, and inadequate shelter. Using these data, the CDC estimated that the use of Hib and pneumococcal vaccines in children under 2 years of age in the camp would be cost-effective under all dosing scenarios evaluated. Medecines Sans Frontiers (MSF) provided medical services to this refugee camp and found delivery of these vaccines to be feasible and effective in this setting.

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Key Idea

TB and pneumococcal infections are two of 18 drug-resistant threats to US health security identified by the CDC in 2013 and are potentially vaccine-preventable. Most antibiotic resistant TB infections in the US occur in people born outside the US.

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Key Idea

A study from South Africa shows that reduced birth rates (fertility) lead to: 1) “decreasing ratio of economically dependent people” 2) “increasing labour force per capita” 3) “[increased] savings 4) “savings can be invested in the physical and human capital needed for economic growth” 5)”As average family size decreases, parents are likely to invest more in the education and health of each child, leading to improved productivity in adulthood.”

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Key Idea

In a review of recent studies, researchers show that administration of influenza vaccine during pregnancy adds 200 grams to newborn weight, and that PCV7 vaccine given to infants translates into an additional 500 grams of growth in the first 6 months of life. In addition, maternal influenza vaccine led to a 15% reduction in low birth-weight.

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Key Idea

Multiple studies show that

  1. Diarrhea and pneumonia impair children’s growth and that underlying malnutrition is a major risk factor for these conditions.
  2. “Episodes of diarrhea may predispose to pneumonia in undernourished children” and
  3. Immunization against influenza (in mothers) and Streptococcus pneumoniae may improve infant growth. In addition, new studies from Bangladesh, Colombia, Ghana, and Israel further support the paradigm that malnutrition is a key risk factor for diarrhea and pneumonia.

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Key Idea

In a study conducted in Southern India, Pneumococcal carriage at age 2 months was associated with a 3-fold risk of stunting and decreased weight, length, and length-for-age by 6 months of age. Pneumococcal carriage at 4 months of age did not affect growth.

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Key Idea

In a recent review of data from developing countries, researchers found that episodes of diarrhea may predispose undernourished children to pneumonia.

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Key Idea

This study based on active surveillance in the US before and after introduction of PCV estimated 38,000 cases of invasive pneumococcal disease were averted in the first 5 years of vaccine use, and an additional 71,000 cases of disease were prevented through herd effects.

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Assuming 90% coverage, a program in The Gambia using a 9-valent PCV (PCV9) would prevent approximately 630 hospitalizations, 40 deaths, and 1000 DALYs over the first 5 years of life of a birth cohort. The estimated cost would be $670 per DALY averted in The Gambia.

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Key Idea

In Gambia, 58% of children who survived a bout of pneumococcal meningitis “had clinical sequelae; half of them had major disability preventing normal adaptation to social life” (mental retardation, hearing loss, motor abnormalities, seizures).

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In a systematic literature review of studies in Africa, the authors conclude: “Bacterial meningitis in Africa is associated with high mortality and risk of neuropsychological sequelae. Pneumococcal and Hib meningitis kill approximately one third of affected children and cause clinically evident sequelae in a quarter of survivors prior to hospital discharge. The three leading causes of bacterial meningitis are vaccine preventable, and routine use of conjugate vaccines could provide substantial health and economic benefits through the prevention of childhood meningitis cases, deaths, and disability.”

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Key Idea

The US CDC estimates that antibiotic resistant pneumococcal infections in the US add $96 million to the costs of treatment each year.

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