Financing vaccinations - the South African experience

M.S. Blecher, F. Meheus, A. Kollipara, R. Hecht, N.A. Cameron, Y. Pillay, L. Hanna

    Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


    South Africa provides a useful country case study for financing vaccinations. It has been an early adopter of new vaccinations and has financed these almost exclusively from domestic resources, largely through general taxation. National vaccination policy is determined by the Department of Health, based on advice from a national advisory group on immunisation. Standard health economic criteria of effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, affordability and burden of disease are used to assess whether new vaccinations should be introduced. Global guidelines and the advice of local and international experts are also helpful in making the determination to introduce new vaccines. In terms of recent decisions to introduce new vaccines against pneumococcal disease and rotavirus diarrhoea in children, the evidence has proved unequivocal. Universal rollout has been implemented even though this has led to a fivefold increase in national spending on vaccines. The total cost to government remains below 1-1.5% of public expenditures for health, which is viewed by the South African authorities as affordable and necessary given the number of lives saved and morbidity averted. To manage the rapid increase in domestic spending, efforts have been made to scale up coverage over several years, give greater attention to negotiating price reductions and, in some cases, obtain initial donations or frontloaded deliveries to facilitate earlier universal rollout. There has been strong support from a wide range of stakeholders for the early introduction of new generation vaccines.
    Original languageEnglish
    Issue numberSuppl. 3
    Pages (from-to)C79-C86
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    • Bacterial diseases
    • Pneumococcal diseases
    • Viral diseases
    • Rotaviruses
    • National policies
    • Mass campaigns
    • Vaccination
    • Assessment
    • Effectiveness
    • Cost-effectiveness
    • Affordability
    • Disease burden
    • Decision making
    • Guidelines
    • Introduction
    • Vaccines
    • Health expenditures
    • Public expenditures
    • Cost
    • Pricing
    • Review of the literature
    • South Africa
    • Africa-Southern


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