A nation's eligibility for support from the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunization (GAVI) and whether a country's neighbours used the Haemophilus influenza Type b vaccine (Hib) were significant influencing factors in the use of the vaccine in addition to its price. These are some new findings from scientists at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
The findings of the research have appeared in the March 16 edition of PLoS Medicine.
Lead author, Jessica Shearer, a former research associate at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, said: "This study is the first to measure how countries' decisions to adopt new vaccines are highly influenced by their neighbors' decisions.
"Countries seem to be engaging in an arms race to vaccinate-decisions which will save millions of lives."
For the study, the researchers analysed data on Hib use from 147 countries from 1990 to 2007. Models were developed to account for a nation's income and burden of Hib disease. According to the study, the receipt of GAVI support sped up the time on decisions to use Hib by 63 percent. The presence of two or more neighbouring countries using Hib accelerated adoption by 50 percent. An increase in price negatively affected the time it took a country to adopt Hib vaccine, which substantiated the findings of previous studies.
"While high vaccine prices hinder adoption, the absence of long-term, stable financing policies at the global level had an even more detrimental effect," added Shearer.
David Bishai, senior author of the study and associate professor in the Bloomberg School's departments of Population, Family and Reproductive Health and International Health, said: "GAVI has been hoping to accelerate the speed at which poor countries get access to life-saving vaccines. This study shows how successful these efforts have actually been.