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Annual Conference on Vaccine Research to Highlight Not Only Health Benefits But Also Economic Gains
Date:5/5/2008

BETHESDA, Md., May 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Vaccines don't just keep children healthy, they also lead to more productive adult workers who can earn higher wages and save more money, according to Dr. David E. Bloom, a labor economist at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Bloom, who has studied the economic impact of vaccination in developing countries, will be the keynote speaker at the 11th Annual Conference on Vaccine Research sponsored by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID). The conference will be held May 5-7 at Baltimore's Marriott Waterfront Hotel.

"A healthier population is a cornerstone of a vibrant and growing economy," Bloom said. In his analysis, Bloom turns conventional wisdom on its head. Although he agrees that higher incomes lead to better health, he also argues that better health leads to higher incomes, both for individuals and for nations. According to Bloom, "Healthier means wealthier."

Bloom believes that the economic value of vaccines has been grossly under-estimated. Typically, he said, cost-benefit studies consider the main benefits to be the direct medical costs that are averted because of vaccines. But the larger picture, he said, is that childhood vaccines lead to healthier, stronger and smarter adults who are more productive. By his estimate, in comparison with their cost, the economic benefits of vaccination equal or exceed the well-established economic benefits of education.

"We need to significantly revise the literature on the economic value of vaccines to take into account these new ideas," he said.

The three-day conference is the world's largest scientific meeting devoted exclusively to research on vaccines and related technologies for disease prevention and treatment. This year, scientists will present findings about the efficacy of a high-dose influenza vaccine for the elderly as well as advances on novel vaccines to combat everything from smoking to bio-terrorism to the spread
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SOURCE National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
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