March 17, 2023 – Diseases that are preventable by vaccines are prevalent in low- and middle-income countries. Researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and their colleagues found that the health costs of treating these diseases disproportionately fall on poor families, emphasizing the need for governments to improve universal access to vaccines.
The study, published March 10 in the journal PLOS Medicine, was led by Stéphane Verguet, associate professor of global health. The researchers focused on children in Ethiopia with vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles and pertussis. They found that poor families and families that have to seek inpatient care end up spending a significant proportion of their total household income on treatment.
“Expanding equitable access to vaccines cannot be overemphasized, for both health and economic reasons,” the researchers wrote. “Such realization requires the government’s commitment toward increasing and sustaining vaccine financing in Ethiopia.”