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International Health

February 8, 2016

Benefits of Childhood Immunization 16 to 44 Times the Investment

To quantify the economic benefits of immunization, Sachiko Ozawa in the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and coauthors assessed the return on investment (ROI) over a ten-year period (2011-2020).  They found that every dollar invested in vaccines during the decade was estimated to result in a return of 16 times the costs, taking into account treatment costs and productivity losses. They derived the estimates by looking not only at vaccine costs, but also supply chain and service delivery costs compared to the associated economic benefits of implementing vaccination programs in 94 low- and middle-income countries. When considering broader economic and social benefits the return on investment for immunization was 44 times the vaccination costs. 

Projections were for 2011-2020—declared the ‘Decade of Vaccines’ by the global health community. Read the entire study here. 

Key findings

  • Vaccines are an excellent investment, which is in line with other studies in which immunization was listed amongst other development investments as having one of the ‘best values for money’. 
  • Net benefits exceeded costs across all ten antigens during the decade. 
  • The return on investment depends heavily on the ability to raise the financial investments necessary to achieve projected coverage rates, which will require continued commitment from governments and donors. 

Return on Investment from Childhood Immunization in Low- and Middle-Income Countries, 2011–2020 was written by Sachiko Ozawa, Samantha Clark, Allison Portnoy, Simrun Grewal, Logan Brenzel and Damian Walker and appears in the February issue of Health Affairs.

Contact for the Department of International Health: Brandon Howard at 410-502-9059 or