(HealthDay News) — The 2009 routine U.S. childhood immunization schedules resulted in considerable economic savings; however, public health communications about vaccines seem not be to effective, according to two studies published online March 3 in Pediatrics.
Fangjun Zhou, PhD, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues examined the economic impact of the 2009 routine U.S. childhood immunization schedule in a hypothetical 2009 U.S. birth cohort of 4,261,494 infants followed from birth to death. Analyses were conducted using population-based vaccination coverage, published vaccine efficacies, historical data on pre-vaccination disease-incidence, and reported disease incidence during 2005 to 2009. The researchers found that routine childhood vaccination would prevent about 42,000 early deaths and 20 million cases of disease. The resulting net savings were estimated at $13.5 billion in direct costs and $68.8 billion in total societal costs.
Brendan Nyhan, PhD, from Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH, and colleagues conducted a web-based survey involving 1,759 parents (≥18 years) with children in their household. The parents were randomized to receive one of four interventions designed to test the effectiveness of messages to reduce vaccine-related misperceptions and increase vaccine rates for measles-mumps-rubella (MMR). The researchers found that none of the interventions resulted in increased parental intent to vaccinate a future child. For parents with the least favorable vaccine attitudes, refuting claims of an MMR/autism link reduced misperceptions relating to vaccines but still decreased intent to vaccinate.
“Current public health communications about vaccines may not be effective,” Nyhan and colleagues write. “More study of pro-vaccine messaging is needed.”