• ‘First-of-its-kind’ study shows that adult immunisation programmes return up to 19 times their initial investment when the full spectrum of benefits is valued
  • The findings highlight the opportunity to ease pressures on health systems by adopting a prevention-first mindset that includes adult immunisation programmes
  • The report comes ahead of World Immunisation Week and reveals substantial variation between countries of the availability of evidence for valuing adult vaccination

A new report published today reveals that adult vaccination programmes can return up to 19 times their initial investment when the full spectrum of economic and societal benefits is valued. The 19x return is equivalent to up to USD 4,637 in net monetary benefits to society per individual full vaccination course.

The study, a first-of-its-kind analysis of adult immunisation programmes by the Office of Health Economics (OHE) and commissioned by IFPMA (1), looked at four adult vaccines across ten countries where they are available to determine the wider economic and social impact.

Focusing on vaccines that protect against influenza (flu), pneumococcal disease, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and herpes zoster (shingles), the research looks at the delivery of vaccine programmes in countries that represent a range of healthcare systems, demographics, and vaccine schedules – Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Poland, South Africa, Thailand, and the United States.

The report concludes that the vaccination programmes deliver substantial returns on government investment through cost savings within healthcare systems and wider socio-economic benefits. Preventing illness reduces doctor and hospital visits, meaning valuable resources can be allocated elsewhere, and ensuring a healthy and active workforce throughout life can boost economic productivity.

The data also demonstrates that adult immunisation can deliver socio-economic returns proportional to childhood immunisation programmes (2). Despite this, access to adult vaccination is inconsistent around the world, with limited inclusion in routine immunisation schedules.

Professor Lotte Steuten, Deputy CEO of OHE, and co-author of the report, said:

“Increasing pressures on ailing healthcare systems, such as ageing populations, are driving an urgent need to shift to a prevention-first mindset. Our report sets out a compelling case for adult immunisation programmes playing a key role in the shift to prevention.

Our findings show that costs are offset multiple times over by benefits to society when governments invest in adult immunisation programmes. These returns are realised through benefits to individuals, families, and communities, providing a clear call to action to countries not already implementing or expanding robust vaccination schedules.”

The researchers used an established vaccine value framework to gather evidence but discovered a lack of data across many elements (3). This finding, coupled with a lack of agreed methods for capturing some elements, means the positive returns shown are likely to be underestimates of the full value that adult vaccines bring to society.

The report has been released ahead of the WHO’s World Immunisation Week, and addressing such evidence gaps will be critical in meeting the ambition of the Immunization Agenda 2030. This includes a strategic priority to ensure that ‘all people benefit from recommended immunizations throughout the life-course’ and explicitly outlines the need for data guided implementation.

Laetitia Bigger, IFPMA Vaccines Policy Director, added:

“This important study widens the lens to demonstrate that adult vaccination programmes are delivering real benefits for health systems and societies across the globe.

Vaccines are one of the most effective public health measures and can also be a powerful driver of more productive economies and resilient societies.

“It is critical that these benefits are better understood if we are to ensure that people who can benefit from adult immunisation programmes are able to access them.”

Maarten Postma, Professor in Pharmacoeconomics at the University of Groningen (Netherlands) and reviewer of the report’s methodology, commented:

“Assessing the value of adult immunisation provides policymakers with a clearer picture of the associated benefits and costs. This comprehensive report looked at four adult vaccines internationally and employed a rigorous methodological framework to assess their value.”

  1. The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) is the innovative pharmaceutical industry’s representative in official relations with the United Nations.
  2. Using the value-of-a-statistical-life approach, return on investment for 10 childhood vaccination programmes was 51.0 from 2011 to 2020 and 52.2 from 2021 to 2030 (Source: https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/10.1377/hlthaff.2020.00103).
  3. Percentage of countries with evidence of positive impact on each value element


Read the full report now