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Vaccine. 2013 Jul 2;31 Suppl 3:C72-9. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2013.05.038.

Using standardized tools to improve immunization costing data for program planning: the cost of the Colombian Expanded Program on Immunization.

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Epidemiology and Public Health Evaluation Group, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia.



The cost of Expanded Programs on Immunization (EPI) is an important aspect of the economic and financial analysis needed for planning purposes. Costs also are needed for cost-effectiveness analysis of introducing new vaccines. We describe a costing tool that improves the speed, accuracy, and availability of EPI costs and that was piloted in Colombia.


The ProVac CostVac Tool is a spreadsheet-based tool that estimates overall EPI costs considering program inputs (personnel, cold chain, vaccines, supplies, etc.) at three administrative levels (central, departmental, and municipal) and one service delivery level (health facilities). It uses various costing methods. The tool was evaluated through a pilot exercise in Colombia. In addition to the costs obtained from the central and intermediate administrative levels, a survey of 112 local health facilities was conducted to collect vaccination costs. Total cost of the EPI, cost per dose of vaccine delivered, and cost per fully vaccinated child with the recommended immunization schedule in Colombia in 2009 were estimated.


The ProVac CostVac Tool is a novel, user-friendly tool, which allows users to conduct an EPI costing study following guidelines for cost studies. The total costs of the Colombian EPI were estimated at US$ 107.8 million in 2009. The cost for a fully immunized child with the recommended schedule was estimated at US$ 153.62. Vaccines and vaccination supplies accounted for 58% of total costs, personnel for 21%, cold chain for 18%, and transportation for 2%. Most EPI costs are incurred at the central level (62%). The major cost driver at the department and municipal levels is personnel costs.


The ProVac CostVac Tool proved to be a comprehensive and useful tool that will allow researchers and health officials to estimate the actual cost for national immunization programs. The present analysis shows that personnel, cold chain, and transportation are important components of EPI and should be carefully estimated in the cost analysis, particularly when evaluating new vaccine introduction.

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