Return on Investment from Vaccines

CLAHRC Africa has previously carried out health economic assessments in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) concerned with devices,[1] [2] and is now doing so with respect to milk banking and breastfeeding in collaboration with the African Population and Health Research Centre (APHRC). We were therefore interested to read a Return on Investment analysis on vaccines in LMICs.[3] Ten vaccines were considered, singly and in combination. The costs of the programmes were obtained largely from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. The costs saved were calculated on the basis of costs of treating cases at home (including days off work for carers), costs of admission by hospital day, transport costs to care facilities, costs of care for disabilities, and lost production costs based on discounted per capita GDP for people who died or could not work. Herd immunity was not taken into account, neither were effects on demographic structures of countries, thereby under-estimating return. The return on investment ([monetised benefit – programme cost] / programme cost) was a whopping $16 per dollar expended. There are few other such studies in LMICs, but the return was even higher than deployment of Community Health Workers at $9 per dollar expended, but lower than improving road safety at $19 per dollar expended. The ratios were positive for all the ten vaccine studied, but the most favourable ratio was for measles, followed by yellow fever (a surprise to the CLAHRC WM Director) and Meningococcal meningitis.

— Richard Lilford, CLAHRC WM Director


  1. Burn SL, Chilton PJ, Gawande AA, Lilford RJ. Peri-operative pulse oximetry in low-income countries: a cost-effectiveness analysis. Bull World Health Organ. 2014; 92(12): 858-67.
  2. Lilford RJ, Burn SL, Diaconu KD, et al. An approach to prioritization of medical devices in low-income countries: an example based on the Republic of South Sudan. Cost Eff Resour Alloc. 2015; 13(1): 2.
  3. Ozawa S, Clark S, Portnoy A, et al. Return on Investment from Childhood Immunization in Low- and Middle-Income Countries, 2011-20. Health Aff. 2016; 35(2): 199-207.

One thought on “Return on Investment from Vaccines”

  1. Dear Richard
    Interested to read about value for money in vaccine deployment in LMIC. We have been challenged by Chris Whitty to produce an analysis of which health interventions have resulted in the progress that Malawi has made towards MDG4 (and others). Who could do this work please? Ideally, we’d like the data for October when we have our site review by the WT…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s