Value of Vaccines article published in the Lancet Global Health

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For World Immunization Week, GAVI Alliance-led article by 29 leading global health experts asks ‘What is the full value of vaccination’?

Credit: The Lancet/2014

Credit: The Lancet/2014.

Geneva, 24 April 2014 - Do the benefits of childhood vaccination go beyond saving lives and preventing illness? If so, does that mean we are underestimating their full value by failing to take into account such benefits when assessing the impact of vaccines? This is the topic tackled by Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of the GAVI Alliance, and 28 leading experts in an article published today in the Lancet Global Health.

Published in World Immunization Week (24-30 April) and in the run up to the 40th anniversary of the Expanded Program on Immunization, the article summarises the findings of a GAVI Alliance-hosted meeting held in 2013 in Annecy, France. At this two-day event, the Alliance brought together leading health economists, epidemiologists and global health experts to examine the evidence of additional benefits of vaccines and to discuss a future research agenda.

Human and economic development

Besides preventing illness and death, it is known that vaccines make a broader contribution to human and economic development, and some aspects of this are already well understood. Healthy children, for example, do not require medical treatment or care, both of which cost money, so their families are more able to work and have money to spend in other ways.

But while there is evidence to show that vaccines can also improve cognitive development, educational attainment and future economic prospects of families and communities, there are gaps in our knowledge and further research is required. This journal article looks at the evidence and asks how we can fill those gaps and what new metrics can potentially be used in future to more accurately gauge the return on investment that immunisation offers.

With contributions from Peter Hansen, GAVI Alliance Director of Monitoring and Evaluation, Policy & Performance, and Hope Johnson, GAVI Alliance Head of Programme Outcomes and Impact, Monitoring & Evaluation, Policy & Performance, the article concludes that while there is much work to be done the potential rewards are huge.

Visit The Lancet website to read the full article.

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