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Appl Health Econ Health Policy. 2016 Jun;14(3):245-52. doi: 10.1007/s40258-016-0224-7.

Methodological Challenges to Economic Evaluations of Vaccines: Is a Common Approach Still Possible?

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Modelling and Economics Unit, Public Health England, 61 Colindale Avenue, London, NW9 6BT, UK.
Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London, WC1E 7HT, UK.
Initiative for Vaccine Research, World Health Organization, 20 Avenue Appia, 1211, Geneva 27, Switzerland.


Economic evaluation of vaccination is a key tool to inform effective spending on vaccines. However, many evaluations have been criticised for failing to capture features of vaccines which are relevant to decision makers. These include broader societal benefits (such as improved educational achievement, economic growth and political stability), reduced health disparities, medical innovation, reduced hospital beds pressures, greater peace of mind and synergies in economic benefits with non-vaccine interventions. Also, the fiscal implications of vaccination programmes are not always made explicit. Alternative methodological frameworks have been proposed to better capture these benefits. However, any broadening of the methodology for economic evaluation must also involve evaluations of non-vaccine interventions, and hence may not always benefit vaccines given a fixed health-care budget. The scope of an economic evaluation must consider the budget from which vaccines are funded, and the decision-maker's stated aims for that spending to achieve.

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