A new economic analysis of the childhood immunization schedule shows it will prevent 42,000 early deaths and 20 million cases of disease, with a savings of $13.5 billion in direct costs and $68.8 billion in total societal costs in a single cohort.
The study, “Economic Evaluation of the Routine Childhood Immunization Program in the United States, 2009,” in the April 2014 Pediatrics (published online March 3), used population-based vaccination coverage, vaccine efficacy data, historical data on disease incidence before vaccination, and disease incidence data after vaccination to calculate the lifetime economic impact of vaccinating a hypothetical cohort of all U.S. children born in 2009.
The study updates a prior analysis published in 2005. Researchers conclude that from a societal perspective, the average savings per dollar spent on vaccination is at least $10.
According to the study authors, “the vaccines currently recommended for young children represent not only a major public health victory in terms of disease prevention, but also an excellent public health ‘buy’ in terms of dollars and cents.”