Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Community Development and Applied Economics

First Advisor

Christopher Koliba

Abstract

Since 2010 the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) have recommended annual influenza vaccinations for all persons aged six months and up (ACIP, 2017). In December of the same year, the Agency of Health and Human Services (AHHS) unveiled Healthy People 2020, a series of health indicators and corresponding 10-year objectives. This newest iteration of the Healthy People program set target influenza vaccination levels for healthy adults 18 and older at 80% (AHHS, 2010).

Aside from the inherent health benefits, multiple studies conducted over the past decade suggest there may be significant economic benefits to a highly-vaccinated population. Depending on the effectiveness of seasonal vaccines, the cost of vaccinating a U.S. adult can be outweighed by the health care savings from the resulting reduction in direct and indirect infection treatment costs.

As the state of Vermont considers including influenza vaccinations in its state-mandated Vermont Vaccine Purchasing Program (VVPP), it presents a unique opportunity to conduct a state-wide case study on the potential cost-saving implications of a universally available influenza vaccination.

This study takes a historical perspective and looks back at Vermont’s influenza cost, usage, and treatment information since the vaccine was recommended in 2010. Using data generated from Vermont’s immunization registry, de-identified claims data, CDC-reported statistics, and numerous published economic studies, this research answers the question: “What societal costs/savings would have been witnessed if the influenza vaccine was included in the VVPP since 2010?” and, more important, what policy changes can be made now to realize savings in the future?

Using a dynamic transmission model embedded in cost-benefit analysis, this research concludes that influenza-related savings of 6.2% would have been experienced over the five flu seasons between fall 2010 and summer 2015. Most of the savings are generated by the increased vaccination rate associated with a universal vaccination program. Creation of such a program in the state of Vermont would likely be economically beneficial.

Language

en

Number of Pages

73 p.

Available for download on Friday, September 13, 2019

Included in

Economics Commons

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