VoICE Immunization Evidence: Economic growth and productivity

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Economic growth and productivity

This section addresses the relationship between vaccine-preventable diseases or immunization and population-level productivity and economic growth. Productivity is a measure of the output realized by a working individual or population as a whole. It is the most important determinant of the standard of living of a group of people or of a nation. Better health means people are better able to contribute through working output (productivity) and results in rising income levels and increased development status of populations. Since healthy children have better physical and mental development than sick children, health status has a direct impact on Cognition and Educational attainment. The amount of education received in turn affects an individual’s productive and economic potential.
4 Key Ideas, 7 Sources
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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A woman carrying vaccines

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The VoICE tool allows you to search for research studies and published evidence based on a topic, location, and disease or vaccine.

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