Vaccines not only prevent diseases but can also help people stay out of poverty.
Increased investments in 10 vaccines administered in low- and middle-income countries over a 15-year period could avert up to 36 million deaths and 24 million cases of medical impoverishment.
"This study explicitly points to 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. "Policymakers should look at targeted vaccine programs as powerful mechanisms for improving health equity and reducing poverty."
They found that the poorest households would likely receive the most benefit from increased access to vaccines, as they are at higher risk, are limited in their use of health care, and consequently are more vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases.
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. "Vaccines prevent not only diseases but also impoverishment. This is why it is so important that everyone, especially the poor, has timely access to high-quality vaccines," said first author Angela Chang.