Vaccines for Kids Linked to Economic Growth

Vaccines can help people live healthier, more productive lives – and, according to new research, they can help make a country’s economy healthier and more productive, too.

A new study led by Neal Masia, Vice President of Patient & Health Impact at Pfizer, and Adjunct Professor of Economics and Management at Columbia University in New York, assessed how changes in childhood vaccine investment impact a country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Using the DTP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) as a proxy for vaccinations programs generally, the research findings show that improved childhood vaccination rates were associated with economic growth, suggesting significant and long-term increases in the GDP growth rate. In fact, improving a country’s childhood vaccination rate by even a mere 1% was found to show measureable improvement in economic growth.

“Vaccination rates vary significantly across countries and the strength of vaccination programs is a matter of public choice, infrastructure limitations, budget constraints, and many other factors – and up until now there has been little research to help facilitate a conversation between Health Ministers and Finance Ministers about difficult investment tradeoffs,” said Masia. “We pursued this research to help frame the decision about how much to invest in childhood vaccination programs generally in a growing, middle-income country. The economically meaningful and seemingly long-lasting effect of vaccines on economic growth suggests an enhanced case for prioritizing and maintaining vaccination programs.”

Learn more about the positive impact of childhood vaccine programs on economic prosperity in the infographic below, and click here to read the abstract in World Development.

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