Vaccine access project to save up to 36 million lives
Researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health estimate that 24 million cases of medical impoverishment could be averted from increased investment in 10 vaccines. These would be administered in low- and middle-income countries over a 15-year period. One of the vaccines in this batch targets Human papillomavirus (HPV).
This investment could also prevent up to 36 million deaths.
“This study explicitly points at how investing in vaccines in low- and middle-income countries can have a broad health and economic impact,” said Stéphane Verguet, assistant professor of global health.
“Policy makers should look at targeted vaccine programs as powerful mechanisms for improving health equity and reducing poverty.”
A mathematical model estimated the impact of distributing 10 vaccines in 41 low- and middle-income countries from 2016–2030. These vaccines would target measles, hepatitis B, HPV, yellow fever, Hemophilus influenzae type b, Streptococcus pneumoniae, rotavirus, rubella, Neisseria meningitidis serogroup A, and Japanese encephalitis.
The poorest households are predicted to receive the most benefit from increased access to vaccines because they are more vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases. This is due to the fact they are at higher risk and are limited in their use of health care.
· The largest share of deaths averted by vaccines was in the lowest income quintile.
· All vaccines led to an important reduction in the number of cases of medical impoverishment.
The study, which was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was published February 5, 2018 in the February issue of Health Affairs.