Just how important are adult vaccines? According to a new study from Health Affairs missed vaccines cost the U.S. economy $8.95 billion in 2015. “This review not only estimated the direct costs and productivity losses due to inpatient and outpatient visits associated with vaccine-preventable diseases…but [it also] examined this across all vaccines recommended for US adults,” authors Sachiko Ozawa, Allison Portnoy, Hiwote Getaneh, Samantha Clark, Maria Knoll, David Bishai, H. Keri Yang, and Pallavi D. Patwardhan explained.
“Low rates of vaccine uptake lead to costs to individuals and society in terms of deaths and disabilities, which are avoidable, and they create economic losses from doctor visits, hospitalizations, and lost income,” the authors argued. “To identify the magnitude of this problem, we calculated the current economic burden that is attributable to vaccine-preventable diseases among US adults.
Not surprisingly, preventable influenza exacted the highest cost, estimated to be $5.8 billion . Pneumococcal disease was second, with an estimated cost of $1.9 billion, followed by herpes zoster ($782 million), human papillomavirus, and hepatitis B ($173 million).
Researchers were from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, in Boston, Massachusetts, MRDC in New York City, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in Baltimore, Maryland, and Merck. This study was funded by Merck. The study “highlights the need for US adults to better appreciate the value of vaccines to prevent economic burden,” they said.