Strengthening national decision-making on immunization by building capacity for economic evaluation: Implementing ProVac in Europe

Vaccine. 2015 May 7;33 Suppl 1:A34-9. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2014.12.073.


Background: For many years, low- and middle-income countries have made efforts to strengthen national decision-making on immunization. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) ProVac Initiative was established to help expedite the use of evidence-based decision-making around new vaccine introduction. This initiative provides training in user-friendly cost-effectiveness models and supports the development of country-led economic evaluations. Due to the success of the ProVac Initiative in the Americas, and following requests from countries from outside the Americas, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded a two-year pilot effort to expand the initiative to other world regions. Called the ProVac International Working Group (IWG), this endeavor took place in 2012 and 2013. It was coordinated by PAHO and carried out in collaboration with several international partners, including the Agence de Médecine Préventive (AMP), London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), Program for Appropriate Technology in Health, Sabin Vaccine Institute, United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization (WHO). In the WHO European Region, technical support was provided by AMP, in close collaboration with the WHO Regional Office for Europe and other ProVac IWG partners.

Methods: In 2012, AMP, the WHO Regional Office for Europe, and other partners held a training workshop in Dubrovnik, Croatia, for 31 participants from four countries of the WHO European Region. The aim was to train health professionals in standard methods of economic evaluation and to assess regional demand for economic studies to support decision-making on immunization. AMP and the other organizations also supported four national cost-effectiveness studies in the WHO European Region. The assistance included country visits and support over a period of six months, the establishment of multidisciplinary teams of experts, ongoing training on the TRIVAC decision-support model for new-vaccine economic analysis, review of local evidence, recommending key data inputs, and support in presenting results to national decision makers.

Results: National cost-effectiveness studies were conducted in four countries: Albania (rotavirus vaccine [RV]), Azerbaijan (pneumococcal conjugate vaccine [PCV]), Croatia (PCV), and Georgia (PCV). All four countries improved their estimates of the burden of disease preventable by the new vaccines. National advisory bodies and ministries of health obtained economic evidence that helped Albania and Croatia to make decisions on introducing the new vaccines. Azerbaijan and Georgia used economic evidence to confirm previously made preliminary decisions to introduce PCV and make corresponding financial commitments. The study helped Albania to obtain access to affordable prices for rotavirus vaccines through participation in the UNICEF procurement mechanism for middle-income countries. Croatia was able to define the PCV price that would make its introduction cost-effective, and can use this figure as a basis for price negotiations.

Discussion: Despite some challenges due to competing national priorities, tight budgets for immunization, and lack of available national data, the ProVac IWG helped to build capacity of national health professionals, support decision-making for the introduction of new vaccines, and promote utilization of economic evidence for making decisions on immunization. This type of strong collaboration among international partners and countries should be scaled up, given that many other countries in the WHO European Region have expressed interest in receiving assistance from the ProVac IWG.

Keywords: Advisory committee; Economic evaluation; Evidence-based policy; Health economics; Immunization policy; New vaccines.

MeSH terms

  • Capital Financing
  • Communicable Diseases / economics*
  • Communicable Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis*
  • Decision Support Techniques*
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Immunization Programs / economics*
  • Immunization Programs / organization & administration
  • Vaccination / economics*
  • Vaccination / methods
  • Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Vaccines / economics*
  • Vaccines / immunology


  • Vaccines