Value of Immunization: Health

Topics

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Search for immunization evidence

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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Cancer and immunization

Here, we look not only at vaccines that directly prevent cancer-causing infections, but also the lesser known preventive and protective effects of immunization on cancer, focusing on vaccines and childhood cancers, health system benefits of HPV, return on investment and more.

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Health

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The Health topic in VoICE focuses on the lesser known physical costs of vaccine-preventable diseases, and the health benefits of vaccines beyond the direct prevention of disease. Poor physical growth in childhood and longterm disabilities resulting from vaccine-preventable infections are two significant but often overlooked costs of disease that we examine in this section. In addition, we look at the herd effects of vaccines on unvaccinated individuals, maternal health, the unintended positive health benefits of some vaccines and the relationship between diseases, vaccines and nutrition & physical growth in childhood.
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Growth, Development, and Nutrition

The Growth, Development, and Nutrition section includes information about how vaccine-preventable diseases and the use of vaccines can affect the normal progressive anatomical and physiological development of children from infancy to adulthood. Normal growth and development is a dynamic and complex process that involves many interrelated components and is largely influenced by nutrition. Children with infectious diseases have limited ability to retain nutrients and are therefore at greater risk for malnutrition and nutrition-related developmental delays. In childhood, disruption of normal growth and development by vaccine preventable diseases can have very far-reaching consequences and may affect a child’s ability to learn (in turn, potentially influencing future productivity). In addition, certain children are at greater risk of these disruptions. See Education and Equity for more information. Childhood immunization can also help to protect against disruptions in growth and development by arresting a cycle of infectious diseases and the resulting diminishment in overall health.

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Herd effects

Herd effect (or ‘herd immunity’) occurs when a large enough percentage of a population has been immunized against an infectious agent to dramatically decrease circulation and transmission of the infection to the point where unimmunized individuals are indirectly protected. For some vaccine-preventable diseases, such as pneumococcal disease, the herd benefit to unvaccinated individuals is quite significant and carries demonstrable positive Economic benefits above and beyond the direct benefits to those who are immunized.

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Collateral effects on health

Collateral effects can be seen when, through immunization, one disease is prevented and the incidence of other unrelated diseases or conditions also decrease as a result. This may have a direct Economic impact, although to date this has not been measured.

Demographic Transition

The “Demographic Transition” is a well-demonstrated phenomenon whereby the increased health and development of a population (usually due to industrialization) lead to a transition from high birth and death rates to lower birth and death rates. Immunization has contributed meaningfully to reducing childhood mortality worldwide and may thus be logically considered a key factor in the ongoing demographic transition in most developing countries. Healthier populations have better Economic prospects, and some studies have endeavored to estimate the rate of return on investments in immunization.

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Long term disability

The Long term disability section contains proof points and evidence related to the abnormal health conditions or diseases related to vaccine preventable diseases. These diseases can be costly to treat and carry long-term consequences for learning, physical functions and future productivity. Visit the Economics, Education and Health Equity sections for more information on some of these consequences.

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Maternal Health

Maternal health refers to the health of women during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period.

A woman carrying vaccines

Search for immunization evidence

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

Search VoICE

Cancer and immunization

Here, we look not only at vaccines that directly prevent cancer-causing infections, but also the lesser known preventive and protective effects of immunization on cancer, focusing on vaccines and childhood cancers, health system benefits of HPV, return on investment and more.

Learn More