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.

41 Key Ideas, 36 Sources
Key Idea

In Tanzania, poverty was found to have a negative effect on receiving vaccines on time (at the recommended age). Children in the wealthiest quintile experienced 19% fewer delays for BCG vaccination, 23% fewer delays for the third dose of DTP vaccination, and 31% fewer delays for the first dose of measles-containing vaccine, compared to children of the poorest quintile.

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Key Idea

A study looking at the relationship between gender roles and full immunization coverage of children in Nigeria found that children of mothers who did not have decision-making autonomy were half as likely to be fully immunized than mothers with autonomy. To further assess the roles of gender and relationship power, children were nearly twice as likely to be fully vaccinated in households where only the mother contributed to household earnings compared to children whose parents contributed equally.

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Key Idea

Children in Tanzania living 5 km or greater distance from the nearest healthcare facility were less likely to be immunized than children living less than 5 km from facilities. Compared to children living close a health facility, children far from a health facility had almost three times the risk of missing out on BCG, 84% higher risk of missing the third dose of DTP, and 48% higher for missing the first dose of measles-containing vaccine. Of children who did receive BCG, those living more than 5 km from facilities had a 26% more likely to received BCG vaccine late than children close to the facility.

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Key Idea

In a UK cost-effectiveness analysis, which takes into account herd effect, the budget impact analysis demonstrated that the introduction of a rotavirus vaccine (RVV) program could pay back between 58-96% of the cost outlay for the program within the first 4 years.

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In an economic evaluation of vaccination against rotavirus conducted in Italy, it was shown that as early as the second year after rotavirus vaccine introduction, the vaccine cost would be more than offset by savings from prevention of disease cases and hospitalizations.

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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 $4.5 billion attributable to measles, $168 million attributable to severe pneumococcal disease and $200 million attributable to severe rotavirus.

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Key Idea

In 41 GAVI-eligible countries it is estimated that, in the absence of measles vaccination, the occurence 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 housholds 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

A study modeling the relationship between disease and poverty in Ethiopia found that among the top 20 causes of death in Ethiopia, diarrhea and lower respiratory infections (LRIs) are the top two drivers of medical impoverishment. It is estimated that in 2013, out-of-pocket direct medical costs for diarrheal disease drove an estimated 164,000 households below the poverty line (representing 47% of all the diarrhea cases), and LRIs led to an estimated 59,000 cases of poverty (17% of LRI cases). Of the top 10 health-associated drivers of poverty, four are at least partially vaccine-preventable (1. Diarrhea, 2. LRI, 4. TB. 10. Pertussis).

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Costs for treatment for rotavirus at a large urban hospital in Malaysia led one third of families to experience catastrophic health expenditures (CHC). When direct and indirect costs of treating rotavirus were considered, almost 9 in 10 families spent more than 10% of their monthly household income on treating rotavirus. In addition, 6% of families were pushed into poverty after paying for treatment.

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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

Considering both the direct and indirect costs, researchers in the Netherlands estimated that the preventative immunization of Dutch healthcare workers (HCW) against pertussis (to reduce exposure and transmission contributing to outbreaks) results in a return on investment of 4 Euros to every 1 euro invested. This projection assumes an outbreak of pertussis once every 10 years.

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Key Idea

The 2008 Nigerian Demographic Health Survey data suggest that children in communities with high unemployment were 1/3 as likely to be fully immunized than children in communities with a medium level of unemployment.

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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

In a modeled analysis of the economic impact of vaccine use in the world’s 72 poorest countries, for countries included in the analyses from the African region, scaling up coverage of the Rotavirus (RVV) vaccine to 90% was projected to result in more than $900 million in treatment costs averted.

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Key Idea

An analysis of the impact of rotavirus vaccine in 25 Gavi countries found that the rates of vaccination in all countries were highest and risk mortality lowest in the top two wealth quintile’s coverage. Countries differed in the relative inequities in these two underlying variables. Cost per DALYs averted is substantially greater in the higher quintiles. In all countries, the greatest potential vaccine benefit was in the poorest quintiles; however, reduced vaccination coverage lowered the projected vaccine benefit.

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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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A study of measles vaccine in Bangladesh found that children from the poorest quintile were more than twice as likely to die as those from the least quintile in the absence of measles vaccination. The difference in mortality between unvaccinated and vaccinated was statistically significant (p<0.10) and robust across alternative measures of socioeconomic status.

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Key Idea

The evidence on cholera disease dynamics suggests that significant herd protection can result from a relatively small number of immunizations, particularly in endemic areas where there is some natural immunity among the population.

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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

A multi-site study of cholera vaccination programs found that the vaccine was cost-effective in school- and community-based vaccination programs for children in India, Mozambique and Indonesia.

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PCV7 use in Argentina resulted in an estimated cost of US$5599 per life year gained and the purchase of the 4 doses of vaccine for the entire cohort at a cost of US$ 26.5 dose would require an investment of US$ 73,823,806.00.

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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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A study on the cost-effectiveness of universal vaccination in children found that at 95% vaccine coverage, the Hepatitis A immunization program in Argentina can reduce over 350,000 hepatitis A infections per year and 428 deaths. Benefits are observed when coverage is as low as 70% with over 290,000 prevented infections. In terms of cost, the program would save almost $24,000 annually at 95% coverage.

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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

A study in Bangladesh found that families are heavily borrowing or losing assets to be able to bear the cost of pneumonia in their children <5 years of age.

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Costs for treatment for rotavirus at a large urban hospital in Malaysia led one third of families to experience catastrophic health expenditures (CHC). When direct and indirect costs of treating rotavirus were considered, almost 9 in 10 families spent more than 10% of their monthly household income on treating rotavirus. In addition, 6% of families were pushed into poverty after paying for treatment.

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Children with rotavirus experience longer hospital stays than children with non-rotavirus diarrhea. In a study looking at the direct and indirect costs of treating rotavirus in Malaysia, rotavirus hospitalizations cost families 26% of their average total monthly household income, which was significantly higher than the cost for non-rotavirus diarrhea hospitalizations.

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In a 2002 study from Cambodia, households with a dengue patient had to borrow money at high interest rates and lose productive assets (land) to repay debts linked to healthcare costs. Public healthcare cost significantly less than private healthcare but was either not present where people lived or did not have a good reputation.

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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. 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

Among families participating in a study in Western Cape, South Africa, 35% of mothers who were previously employed stopped working to care for children who had survived tuberculosis meningitis with permanent disabilities. 19% of families reported experiencing financial loss as a result of caring for these disabled children.

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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, 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 $109 is nearly 4 times the annual per capita expenditure for health in The Gambia.

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A 2017 study in Malawi found that the household costs associated with an episode of childhood diarrhea exceeded monthly income in a significant number of cases (in 17% of cases where children were admitted to the hospital, and in 9% of cases where children were treated as outpatients). These costs were significant enough to push families from each income strata below the national poverty line for the month in which the illness took place.

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Key Idea

Researchers estimate that vaccinating against 10 diseases in the world’s 94 poorest countries between 2011-2020 will avert $586 Billion in costs of illness (including treatment costs, transportation costs, lost caretaker wages and productivity losses due to death and disability). The 73 Gavi-supported countries account for $544 billion of the treatment costs averted.

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Key Idea

In the mid-1980s, the Indian government examined the effect of their universal immunization program on child mortality and educational attainment. Results indicate that exposure to the program reduced infant mortality by 0.4 percentage points and under five child mortality by 0.5 percentage points. These effects on mortality account for approximately one-fifth of the decline in infant and under five child mortality rates between 1985-1990. The effects are more pronounced in rural areas, for poor people, and for members of historically disadvantaged groups.

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In a study of immunization in the Philippines, children vaccinated against 6 diseases performed significantly better on verbal reasoning, math and language tests than those who were unvaccinated. (note: Researchers did not find an association with physical growth.)

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Key Idea

A study of a cholera outbreak in Peru in 1991-92 estimates that the national economy conservatively suffered more than $50million in economic losses due to reduced tourism revenue, reduced revenue on export of goods and lower domestic consumption as a result of the outbreak of cholera.

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Key Idea

A study of the economic burden of cholera in Africa found that 110,837 cases of cholera reported in 2007 resulted in an economic loss of US$43.3 million, US$60 million and US$72.7 million, assuming life expectancies of 40, 53 and 73 years respectively. (More results available for 2005 & 2006).

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Researchers modeled the costs, using the UK’s 2004 economy, of potential pandemic flu in the UK. Costs of illness alone ranged between 0.5% and 1.0% of gross domestic product (£8.4bn to £16.8bn) for low fatality scenarios, 3.3% and 4.3% (£55.5bn to £72.3bn) for high fatality scenarios, and larger still for an extreme pandemic. Vaccination with a pre-pandemic vaccine could save 0.13% to 2.3% of gross domestic product (£2.2bn to £38.6bn); a single dose of a matched vaccine could save 0.3% to 4.3% (£5.0bn to £72.3bn); and two doses of a matched vaccine could limit the overall economic impact to about 1% of gross domestic product for all disease scenarios.

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Key Idea

For every 6 children vaccinated with measles vaccine in a poor, largely rural community in South Africa, one additional grade of schooling was achieved.

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In 1996, a follow-up study was conducted on a 1974 randomized trial of tetanus and cholera vaccine administered to mothers. At the time of follow up in 1996, there was a clear pattern of increased educational attainment among children whose mothers received tetanus vaccine during pregnancy. This pattern was significant for the group of children born to vaccinated mothers with very low levels of education.

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Key Idea

Models based on demographic data from Ghana suggest that immunization would eliminate the childhood mortality risk associated with living in poverty and greatly diminish the increased risk of mortality borne by children whose parents have low levels of education.

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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

Among families participating in a study in Western Cape, South Africa, 35% of mothers who were previously employed stopped working to care for children who had survived tuberculosis meningitis resulting in permanent disabilities. 19% of families reported experiencing financial loss as a result of caring for these disabled children.

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Key Idea

A recent study estimated that, during the decade from 2011-2020, every $1 invested in immunization programs in the world’s 73 poorest countries would yield a $16 return on investment. Using an approach accounting for additional societal benefits of vaccination (the “full income approach”, which quantifies the value that people place on living longer and healthier lives), researchers estimated the return could be as high as $44 per $1 invested.

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Vaccination of children in the Philippines against 6 diseases was found to significantly increase IQ and language scores (compared to children receiving no vaccinations) and was estimated to have a 21% rate of return.

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Key Idea

Among children participating in a study in Western Cape, South Africa who were well enough to attend school after surviving tuberculous meningitis, more than half (53%) had failed a school grade at least once.

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Key Idea

This study follows up on a 1974 randomized trial of tetanus and cholera vaccine administered to mothers in Bangladesh. At the time of follow up in 1996, there was a clear pattern of increased educational attainment among children whose mothers received tetanus vaccine during pregnancy. This pattern was significant for the group of children born to vaccinated mothers with very low levels of education.

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Key Idea

For every 6 children vaccinated with measles vaccine in a poor, largely rural community in South Africa, one additional grade of schooling was achieved.

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Key Idea

In a systematic review of qualitative research from low- and middle-income countries, women’s low social status was shown to be a barrier to their children accessing vaccinations. Specific barriers included access to education, income, resource allocation and autonomous decision-making related to time. The author’s suggest that expanding the responsibility for children’s health to both parents (mothers and fathers) may be one important element in removing persistent barriers to immunization often faced by mothers.

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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, 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 $109 is nearly 4 times the annual per capita expenditure for health in The Gambia.

View Source >

Key Idea

In the mid-1980s, the Indian government embarked on one of the largest childhood immunization programs-called Universal Immunization Program (UIP)-in order to reduce the high mortality and morbidity among children. Results indicate that exposure to the program reduced infant mortality by 0.4 percentage points and under five child mortality by 0.5 percentage points. These effects on mortality are sizable{they account for approximately one-fifth of the decline in infant and under five child mortality rates between 1985- 1990. The effects are more pronounced in rural areas, for poor people, and for members of historically disadvantaged groups. The 0.5 percentage point reduction each year over 5 years (from 15% under 5 mortality in 1985 to 12.3% in 1990), represents an 18% reduction overall in under 5 mortality.

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Models based on demographic data from Ghana suggest that immunization would eliminate the childhood mortality risk associated with living in poverty and greatly diminish the increased risk of mortality borne by children whose parents have low levels of education.

View Source >

Key Idea

A study of the impact of measles vaccine in Bangladesh found that unvaccinated children in the poorest quintile were more than twice as likely to die as those from the least poor quintile. In addition, vaccination reduced socioeconomic status-related mortality differentials

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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 $40 per year of healthy life gained.

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Measles vaccine in Bangladesh: Unvaccinated children in the poorest quintile were more than twice as likely to die as those from the least poor quintile. In addition vaccination reduced socioeconomic status-related mortality differentials.

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Key Idea

A package of 5 vaccines was delivered and it was found that children from poorer households benefited more in terms of health outcomes from immunization than did those from relatively wealthier households. Results suggest that most of the risk of dying before age five can be eliminated with full immunization in the severely health-deprived setting.

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Key Idea

Rates of vaccination in all studied countries were highest and risk mortality lowest in the top two wealth quintile’s coverage. Countries differed in the relative inequities in these two underlying variables. Cost per DALYs averted is substantially greater in the higher quintiles. In all countries, the greatest potential vaccine benefit was in the poorest quintiles; however, reduced vaccination coverage lowered the projected vaccine benefit.

View Source >

A study of measles vaccine in Bangladesh found that children from the poorest quintile were more than twice as likely to die as those from the least quintile in the absence of measles vaccination. The difference in mortality between unvaccinated and vaccinated was statistically significant (p<0.10) and robust across alternative measures of socioeconomic status.

View Source >

Key Idea

In a systematic review of qualitative research from low- and middle-income countries, women’s low social status was shown to be a barrier to their children accessing vaccinations. Specific barriers included access to education, income, resource allocation and autonomous decision-making related to time. The author’s suggest that expanding the responsibility for children’s health to both parents (mothers and fathers) may be one important element in removing persistent barriers to immunization often faced by mothers.

View Source >

In Tanzania, poverty was found to have a negative effect on receiving vaccines on time (at the recommended age). Children in the wealthiest quintile experienced 19% fewer delays for BCG vaccination, 23% fewer delays for the third dose of DTP vaccination, and 31% fewer delays for the first dose of measles-containing vaccine, compared to children of the poorest quintile.

View Source >

Key Idea

A package of 5 vaccines was delivered and it was found that children from poorer households benefited more in terms of health outcomes from immunization than did those from relatively wealthier households. Results suggest that most of the risk of dying before age five can be eliminated with full immunization in the severely health-deprived setting.

View Source >

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 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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