Vaccinations, long recognized as an excellent investment that saves lives and prevents illness, could have significant economic value that far exceeds their original cost, a new study from researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has found.
In what is believed to be among the first studies to examine the potential return on investment of vaccinations, the researchers assessed the economic benefits of vaccines in 94 low- and middle-income countries using projected vaccination rates from 2011 to 2020. When looking only at costs associated with illness, such as treatment costs and productivity losses, the return was $16 for every dollar spent on vaccines. In a separate analysis taking into account the broader economic impact of illness, vaccinations save $44 for every dollar spent.
The study appears in the February issue of Health Affairs.
“Vaccines are an excellent investment,” says lead author Dr. Sachiko Ozawa, an assistant scientist in the department of international health at the Bloomberg School. “But to reap the potential economic rewards, governments and donors must continue their investments in expanding access to vaccines.”
Without vaccination, millions of children would die from preventable illnesses and diseases across the decade. While billions of dollars will be spent to try and vaccinate more children, the goal of full coverage — that is, getting every child vaccinated — has not yet been met.