Using health economics to inform immunization policy across all levels of government

Publicly-funded immunization programs have grown in both complexity and scope, resulting in increased costs and more complex programmatic decision making. Economic evaluations can provide crucial information to support informed decision making.

While very few countries have National Immunization Technical Advisory Groups that analyze economic information, many have started to develop processes for this purpose. Since these guidelines are being developed at the national level, we propose that regional jurisdictions, especially those responsible for healthcare (e.g., provinces, territories, states), need clear processes for incorporating this information into their immunization decision making and program implementation.

We interviewed Canadian vaccine experts involved in provincial vaccine policy decision making to identify current practices, perceptions, and recommendations around incorporating economic analysis into that process.

Based on these interviews, we make five recommendations: (1) economic evidence should be routinely incorporated into the decision making process; (2) economic experts should sit on, or be available to, regional advisory committees; (3) efforts should be made to build on regional expertise by increasing educational opportunities on economic evaluation; (4) processes should include guidelines for when economic analysis is not required; and (5) clarification on the role of regional advisory groups in economic analysis is needed in relation to national expertise.

The information presented here provides a starting point for regional health policy experts and decision makers to work collaboratively with national partners to create transparent and effective approaches to incorporating economic analysis into vaccine decision making.

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Rafferty E, Reifferscheid L, Assi A, MacDonald SE

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