Vaccinating every cohort of newborns along with providing boosters and new vaccines to children is a daunting but vital task that requires adequate and sustained financing. Making matters more difficult, the cost of national immunization programs is rising as new vaccines, such as those that protect against pneumonia and cervical cancer, are more expensive per dose than traditional vaccines. Reaching children of families that live in remote and isolated households adds to the expense.
Estimates put the cost of fully vaccinating a child at US$25-$45, but even this figure does not take into account non-vaccine costs of delivering the service, training, supervision, monitoring and tracking outbreaks, addressing population demand for services or managing programs. Several studies suggest that non-vaccine costs represent nearly half of the total cost per child.
To ensure every child receives the vaccines they need, governments need to carefully plan and adequately budget for both vaccines and the delivery costs of immunization programs. The delivery cost to vaccinate a child depends on the country, the vaccine schedule, the level of coverage and how services are delivered—whether through campaigns, routine or mobile services and outreach.
It is encouraging to note that recent data indicates governments are financing a growing share of total immunization expenditures and are less donor dependent.