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Routine Immunization Has ‘Profound’ Health, Economic, Financial Impacts

Project Syndicate: Vaccinating Against Poverty
Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

“…The fact that [a new study published in Health Affairs] found that the greatest benefits of vaccination were among the poorest suggests not only that poorer people are more vulnerable and have a higher risk of developing preventable diseases, but also that the impact on their lives is potentially greater. For the governments of low-income countries, this is an opportunity, because it shows what they could achieve in terms of improving health equity and reducing poverty by targeting higher vaccination rates in poorer and more marginalized communities. Moreover, by making affordable, quality health care available to everyone, regardless of their income, governments can take an important step toward universal health care coverage (UHC). That is because national immunization programs can act as a platform upon which to build a primary care system. … And now, as this new study implies, immunization has an additional, indirect role to play. In the absence of a government-backed national health service or affordable health insurance, routine immunization has a profound financial impact, by saving millions of people from needing health care in the first place, through disease prevention…” (3/12).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.