According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 42 percent of US adults ages 18 and older received the flu vaccine in the 2015–16 flu season. This is just one example of US adults’ not receiving vaccinations at recommended levels, which can lead to avoidable costs of doctor visits, hospitalizations, and lost productivity.
A new study, being released as a Web First by Health Affairs, sought to calculate the annual economic burden of diseases associated with ten vaccines that protect against fourteen different pathogens and are recommended by the CDC for adults. According to the authors, in 2015 the economic burden was $8.95 billion, and unvaccinated people were responsible for almost 80 percent of that burden ($7.1 billion).
The exhibit below shows the dollar amounts attributable to the different pathogens. The authors used various nationwide databases, literatures, and developed a model, detailed in the study, to arrive at their calculation of the economic burden.
“This review not only estimated the direct costs and productivity losses due to inpatient and outpatient visits associated with vaccine-preventable diseases…but examined this across all vaccines recommended for US adults,” the authors noted. “It highlights the need for US adults to better appreciate the value of vaccines to prevent economic burden.”