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CDC: Chickenpox Vaccine Cuts Hospitalizations

Report Shows Positive Impact of Vaccination Program in All Age Groups

Crunching the Numbers continued...

In an editorial accompanying the study, Davis, an assistant professor of pediatrics and communicable diseases at the University of Michigan, writes that the CDC analysis cannot "conclusively confirm that childhood varicella vaccination is as cost-effective as originally anticipated."

"In reality, this vaccine is probably very cost-effective," he tells WebMD. "But we don't have enough information today to say that it is less, as, or more cost-effective than was projected 10 years ago."

In the past, Davis says, there has been a reluctance to consider cost as a major factor in making public health decisions about immunization against disease. But he adds that this could change as economic considerations increasingly drive health care choices.

"We need to have a better way to measure things like work time missed by parents so that we can better track the cost-effectiveness [of vaccine programs]," he says. "We need this information because when the rubber hits the road in terms of health care costs we may care very much about whether a vaccine is cost-effective or not in the future. We need better ways to evaluate this."

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