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Immunization Economics


Immunization program in low- and middle-income countries are often somewhat vertically organized. Immunization has historically been high-priority public health initiative, responsible for substantial improvements in population health and welfare. At present, and in the foreseeable future, several immunization policy issues beg for economic analysis:

  • First, several newer vaccines have been developed targeting infectious diseases. These vaccines have tended to have a relatively higher cost than traditional vaccines which are the core of immunization programs. Thus, questions of affordability, value-for-money (cost-effectiveness), financing schemes, licensing, generic production, trade protections, market dynamics have been the focus of much research and policy debate. ·
  • Second, while national immunization programs have been successful in many countries, even high-performing nations have sub-national problem areas where program goals are not being met. Considerable research, often including economists, has focused on the resource requirements, cost-efficiency, and determinants of cost and efficiency variation across sites within a country, to design, implement, and evaluate interventions to improve coverage and quality of immunization services in these locations.
  • Third, significant international donors such as Gavi, technical organizations such as WHO, and other stakeholders, increasingly are demanding analyses of the broader social and economic impact of immunization programs. These analyses include their impact on socioeconomic disparities and household financial risks like immunization in the context of resource allocation, prioritization, community insurance schemes, and development of health benefits packages.

What is the Immunization Economics Special Interest Group?

The Immunization Economics SIG provides a forum for an exchange of relevant research methods and practices, as well as disseminate results to a broader audience. In addition, the SIG will cultivate new researcher interest in the area of vaccine economics, and leverage lessons learned from other priority health issues.

Objectives of the Immunization Economics Special Interest Group

Immunization Economics SIG has three (3) central aims:


To attract and connect more international researchers in economics and related disciplines from low- and high-income countries to work on immunization research, and to utilize iHEA as one of the regular engagements for the broader immunization community to share and disseminate relevant research and methods, when it relates to economics.


To keep iHEA members up to date with the latest developments in research on immunization value, costing, financing, and efficiency, while providing a forum for iHEA congress participants interested in the application of methods and the topic of immunization economics. 


To encourage collaboration among and between iHEA and the broader Immunization Economics Community of Practice members on projects that generate rigorous new evidence in immunization economics, and on projects to identify best practices in associated research methodologies and policy implementation. New connections between researchers engaged in immunization economics and with those of other disciplines will expand the use of methods and applicability to immunization and other subjects.


  • Christian Suharlim, MD, MPH | | Management Sciences for Health
  • Stephen Resch, MPH, PhD | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Logan Brenzel, PhD | Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

How to Join the Immunization Economics SIG

SIG activities may include the development of pre-congress, organized sessions, poster presentations, and social events centered on the iHEA congress; identification and financially supporting promising young researchers through grants and competitions; as well as the development of an Immunization Economics Webinar series (with certification of completion). If you are interested in learning more about the SIG activities and/or have a suggestion for potential activities, please complete the form here.

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The International Health Economics Association was formed to increase communication among health economists, foster a higher standard of debate in the application of economics to health and health care systems, and assist young researchers at the start of their careers.

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