Why vaccines matter: understanding the broader health, economic, and child development benefits of routine vaccination

Arindam Nandi, Anita Shet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The direct benefits of childhood vaccination in reducing the burden of disease morbidity and mortality in a cost-effective manner are well-established. By preventing episodes of vaccine-preventable diseases, vaccination can also help avert associated out-of-pocket medical expenses, healthcare provider costs, and losses in wages of patients and caregivers. Studies have associated vaccines positively with cognition and school attainment, suggesting benefits of long-term improved economic productivity. New evidence suggests that the measles vaccine may improve immunological memory and prevent co-infections, thereby forming a protective shield against other infections, and consequently improving health, cognition, schooling and productivity outcomes well into the adolescence and adulthood in low-income settings. Systematically documenting these broader health, economic, and child development benefits of vaccines is important from a policy perspective, not only in low and middle-income countries where the burden of vaccine-preventable diseases is high and public resources are constrained, but also in high-income settings where the emergence of vaccine hesitancy poses a threat to benefits gained from reducing vaccine-preventable diseases. In this paper, we provide a brief summary of the recent evidence on the benefits of vaccines, and discuss the policy implications of these findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1900-1904
Number of pages5
JournalHuman Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics
Volume16
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2 2020

Keywords

  • Routine immunization
  • benefit-cost
  • broader benefits of vaccines
  • child development
  • cost-effectiveness
  • measles vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology

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