SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2016

Childhood immunizations save thousands of lives, billions of dollars

The childhood immunization schedule will prevent 42,000 early deaths, 20 million disease cases and save $13.5 billion in direct costs in a single cohort, according to a study recently published in Pediatrics.

The study, entitled "Economic Evaluation of the Routine Childhood Immunization Program in the United States, 2009," evaluated the economic impact of the 2009 routine U.S. childhood immunization schedule. The schedule in 2009 included the following vaccines: rotavirus, hepatitis A, 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate, varicella, hepatitis B, measles/mumps/rubella, inactivated poliovirus, Haemophilus influenzae type b conjugate, diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis.

The researchers used population-based vaccination coverage, historical data on disease incidence before vaccination, vaccine efficacy data and disease incidence data after vaccination to calculate the lifetime economic impact of vaccinating a hypothetical cohort of U.S. children born in 2009.

The study found that routine immunization among the members of the 2009 U.S. birth cohort will save $68.8 billion in total societal costs. The estimated average savings per dollar spent on vaccination was at least $10.

"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," the authors said.

The study updated a prior analysis that was published in 2005.