Despite the interest of policy makers, the actual investment in vaccination is poorly documented. Our study assessed the costs of vaccination throughout life for a fully immunized Western European citizen. National vaccination calendars for England, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Sweden were retrieved. We differentiated men from women and healthy individuals from those suffering from underlying conditions who require specific additional vaccinations. Vaccine costs and administration fees were retrieved from official national source and calculated from the national healthcare perspective. Vaccinating an individual against up to 17 diseases throughout his entire life and in full compliance with national vaccination calendars cost between €328 and €2,352 (vaccines costs only) and between €443 and €3,395 (administration costs included), the lowest range corresponds to a healthy man in Sweden and the highest to a woman with underlying conditions in England. Vaccination costs varied among countries due to heterogeneous national vaccination calendars and organization. In all countries, adults (18-64 y) and elderly (≥65 y) accounted for the lowest vaccines costs compared with infants (0-24 m) and children/adolescents (2-17 y). In comparison, other mass secondary preventive therapies may be at least 3 times more costly. Vaccination requires a relatively low level of investment per individual. Our estimates should be considered to be the maximum potential costs due to our 100% compliance assumption. Increasing coverage rates would bring additional public health benefits for a relatively low incremental cost. A life-course approach of vaccination should also be encouraged because some missed opportunities remain in senior vaccinations.
Keywords: Western Europe; cost; healthcare perspective; national vaccination calendar; vaccination.