"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."
‘The poorest households would likely receive the most benefit from increased access to vaccines, as they are at higher risk.’
The researchers developed a mathematical model to estimate the impact of distributing 10 vaccines--measles, hepatitis B, human papillomavirus, yellow fever, Hemophilus influenzae type b, Streptococcus pneumoniae, rotavirus, rubella, Neisseria meningitidis serogroup A, and Japanese encephalitis-- in 41 low- and middle-income countries from 2016-2030.
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.