Introduction Beyond their impact on health, vaccines can lead to large economic benefits. While most economic evaluations of vaccines have focused on the health impact of vaccines at a national scale, it is critical to understand how their impact is distributed along population subgroups.

Methods We build a financial risk protection model to evaluate the impact of immunisation against measles, severe pneumococcal disease and severe rotavirus for birth cohorts vaccinated over 2016–2030 for three scenarios in 41 Gavi-eligible countries: no immunisation, current immunisation coverage forecasts and the current immunisation coverage enhanced with funding support. We distribute modelled disease cases per socioeconomic group and derive the number of cases of: (1) catastrophic health costs (CHCs) and (2) medical impoverishment.

Results In the absence of any vaccine coverage, the number of CHC cases attributable to measles, severe pneumococcal disease and severe rotavirus would be approximately 18.9 million, 6.6 million and 2.2 million, respectively. Expanding vaccine coverage would reduce this number by up to 90%, 30% and 40% in each case. More importantly, we find a higher share of CHC incidence among the poorest quintiles who consequently benefit more from vaccine expansion.

Conclusion Our findings contribute to the understanding of how vaccines can have a broad economic impact. In particular, we find that immunisation programmes can reduce the proportion of households facing catastrophic payments from out-of-pocket health expenses, mainly in lower socioeconomic groups. Thus, vaccines could have an important role in poverty reduction.,
BMJ Global Health
Department of Applied Economics

Riumallo-Herl, C., Chang, A. Y., Clark, S., Constenla, D., Clark, A., Brenzel, L., & Verguet, S. (2018). Poverty reduction and equity benefits of introducing or scaling up measles, rotavirus and pneumococcal vaccines in low-income and middle-income countries: a modelling study. BMJ (Online), 3(2). doi:10.1136/bmjgh-2017-000613