Overcoming Perceptions of Financial Barriers to Rotavirus Vaccine Introduction in Asia

This paper appeared in Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics, 2013 Aug 16;9(11). Authors: Nelson EA, de Quadros CA, Santosham M, Parashar UD, Steele D.

A two-page summary of the paper can be found here.


Despite a WHO recommendation in 2009, reaffirmed in 2013, that all countries should consider introducing rotavirus vaccines into their National Immunization Programs, as of June 2013 only 45 have done so. One major consideration appears to have been the costs of the vaccine to countries. Of concern, is that Asian countries have been slow to introduce rotavirus vaccines despite having robust data that could inform the decision-making process. Although decisions on new vaccine introduction are very complex and vary by country and region, economic evaluations are often pivotal once vaccine efficacy and safety has been established, and disease burden documented and communicated. Unfortunately, with private sector list prices of vaccines often used in economic evaluations, rather than a potential public health sector pricing structure, policy-makers may defer decisions on rotavirus vaccine introduction based on the belief that “the vaccine price is too high,” even though this might be based on erroneous data. The Pan American Health Organization’s Revolving Fund provides one example of how vaccine price can be made more competitive and transparent through a regional tendering process. Other mechanisms, such as tiered pricing and UNICEF procurement, also exist that could help Asian and other countries move forward more quickly with rotavirus vaccine introduction.