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Childhood vaccines save millions of lives in developing countries
September 17, 2017, 2:59 pm

In the developing world, vaccines administered in childhood will help save more than 20 million lives and over $350 billion in health care costs by 2020, says a new study.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina in the US, who were behind the vaccine study, examined the impact of Gavi — the international Vaccine Alliance launched in 2000 to provide vaccines to children in the world’s poorest countries.

In the study, published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization (WHO) the researchers said that decision-makers need to appreciate the full potential economic benefits that are likely to result from the introduction and sustained use of vaccination programs.

Researchers found that Gavi has contributed to the immunization of 580 million children in the 73 countries included in the analysis. The study focused on vaccines against hepatitis B, human papillomavirus, Japanese encephalitis, measles, rotavirus, rubella, yellow fever and three strains of bacteria that cause pneumonia and meningitis.

Between 2001 and 2020, the 10 vaccines will have prevented 500 million cases of illness and 9 million cases of long-term disability, according to the investigators. Each country supported by the Gavi initiative will likely have saved approximately $5 million a year in health care costs due to these 10 vaccines, the researchers said. They also concluded that the economic and social value of lives saved and disabilities prevented by the vaccines will amount to $820 billion by the year 2020.

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