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Costs and benefits of a second measles inoculation of children in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza.
  1. G M Ginsberg,
  2. T H Tulchinsky
  1. Ministry of Health, Hadassah-Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel.

    Abstract

    STUDY OBJECTIVE--Measles has been targeted by the WHO as a disease which should be eradicated. Use of existing vaccines during infancy has resulted in a substantial decline in cases in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. However the disease continues to occur in epidemic waves with large scale morbidity and mortality in all of these populations. This paper estimates the costs and benefits of three alternative strategies of adding immunisation at school age, and during young adult life to the present vaccination at 15 months. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS--A policy of immunising all Israeli children aged 6 (option A) would cost around $1 million and have estimated benefits of $4.5 million, yielding a benefit cost ratio of 4.53/1. Despite relatively lower medical care costs and work absence costs (as a result of the lower per capita GNP and lower female participation rate in the workforce), the West Bank and Gaza situations yield benefit to cost ratios of 5.74/1 and 9.59/1 respectively because of their relatively higher incidence rates. If implemented in Israel, a vaccination programme (such as option A) would prevent, over the next 10 years, approximately 28,700 simple cases, 3400 hospital admissions, eight non-fatal cases of encephalitis, and 2.2 cases of SSPE. It would save 28 lives. The adoption of option A, is expected to reduce incidence and mortality by around 13,600 and 32 cases in the West Bank, and by 18,000 and 64 cases in Gaza. CONCLUSION--The adoption of a two dose policy appears to be economically justifiable.

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