Introduction Raymond Hutubessy is a senior health economist affiliated to the Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals (IVB) Department of the World Health Organization (WHO), and is the executive secretary of the WHO Immunization and Vaccines related Implementation Research Advisory Committee (IVIR-AC). His main research interests focus on economic and financial analyses of vaccine introduction decisions in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). In this Q&A, he will discuss the importance of this work in relation to the global context of vaccine introduction decisions. Q&A 1. What is the importance of conducting economic analyses for vaccine introduction decisions? Vaccines for prevention of communicable diseases have been shown to be extremely effective in terms of health outcomes. Therefore, conducting economic analyses to get the most value for money from vaccine introduction decisions is of high importance; evidence and information resulting from these analyses are not the only input to the decision-making process for vaccine introduction decisions, but they are important ones. The relationship between health and economic growth is one of the cornerstones of development economics: health status is determinant of productivity that can be shown to influence economic growth. Specifically, vaccines have a broader value in terms of their indirect effects (for example, herd immunity) and other externalities (for example, improvements in the cognitive development of children, higher school attendance and attainment, macroeconomic impact). Therefore, in addition to the traditional economic appraisals for vaccine introduction decisions it is useful to policy makers and other stakeholders involved with vaccine introduction decisions to demonstrate the broader added value of vaccines and investments in health in general. Economic appraisals address different key issues with regard to decisions on vaccine introduction. These appraisals range from priority-setting issues across vaccines and other competing health interventions, to affordability and budget impact analysis, and costing and financing issues with regard to the introduction decisions of immunization programmes. For these different policy questions, different analytical tools are available, such as cost-effectiveness analyses, costing studies, budget impact and optimization analysis. 2) What are the main issues that should be considered? First, because many economic evaluations are based on analytical decision tools such as mathematical infectious disease models, costing tools, decision trees models and so on, transparency is needed on the choice of the modeling methodologies, parameters and country data used and assumptions made by the analyst. Standardization of methods of cost-effectiveness is therefore needed and analysts in the field should adhere to these guides. This allows users to make comparisons of different study results by different groups. The WHO, in addition to other organizations, has developed several guidelines on economic evaluations in health, and vaccines and immunization programs in particular. The full interview is attached. 1741-7015-11-71.pdf
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