The cost of measles: Spend $200 on measles vaccine, or $10,000 for care?


Posted at Feb 12 2019 02:13 PM

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Would you rather spend $200 on a measles vaccine, or $10,000 in the case of a measles outbreak? 

This is the scenario posed by a healthcare analyst of the Economist Intelligence Unit, who estimated each case of measles to cost an average of $2,000-$10,000 depending on severity. He said the cost includes lost productivity, cost of treatment and quarantine. 

"These costs might not end here," explained EIU healthcare senior associate consultant Tim Chew to ANC.

"In some cases complications from measles can only arise several years down the road. Beyond that, to put things really in perspective - when we think about the cost of the measles outbreak and we compare this cost to the vaccination cost both including logistics and manpower, this can come to US$200 compared to $2,000-$10,000 in the event of managing the situation."

Chew said vaccine hesitancy could be traced to several factors including bad reputation of vaccines from issues like the controversial Dengvaxia mess, as well as the easily accessible uncurated and unverified information people get about the virus and vaccines. 

He said the national vaccination program is at the heart of the issue, with the unvaccinated considered the greatest victims of any outbreak. He said the Philippines can look to Thailand for best practices in handling outbreaks and carrying out vaccination programs.

"Thailand has a high level of vaccination across the country. Approximately 99% vaccination rate has been achieved for most basic vaccines in the country...What we have seen to be producing result in the Thai context is two-fold: there is very clean and transparent guidelines for vaccine safety and vaccine monitoring. There are specialized committees that maintain oversight over vaccine safety," he said. 

"They even keep official records of these individuals that refuse vaccine so that in the future, when outbreak can happen - they can pinpoint specifically the individuals who are at the highest risk."

ANC, February 12, 2018