The Progress of Nations: Health

20 nations now pay own vaccine bills

The massive expansion of vaccine coverage since the mid-1980s - from 25% to 80% of the developing world's children - has depended heavily on vaccines paid for by international aid. But 20 developing countries pay their own vaccine bills. They include three very large, poor countries, China, Egypt, and Indonesia. A further 15 nations pay over half of their own vaccine costs.

Over 100 million infants a year need immunizing against six diseases. Although vaccines are a relatively small proportion of total immunization costs, vaccine self-sufficiency is an indicator of the priority attached to immunization, and therefore of the sustainability of programmes.

The tables below rank 58 nations, representing nearly 80% of the developing world's children, according to the proportion of routine childhood vaccine costs borne by government.

Photo: Vaccine independence - a test of strength for immunization programmes.©

Paying the whole vaccine bill

Brazil Indonesia Peru
Chile Iran South Africa
China Jamaica Syria
Dominican Rep. Mexico Tunisia
Ecuador Morocco Uruguay
Egypt Oman Venezuela
Guatemal Panama Paraguay

Paying part of vaccine bill

% of routine immunization costs paid by government in 1995

Pakistan97Burkina Faso54
Costa Rica89Viet Nam25
Cote d'Ivoire80Guinea-Bissau23
Sri Lanka80Zambia10

Paying none of vaccine bill

Benin Iraq* Somalia
Bhutan Kenya Sudan
Cambodia Liberia Togo
Congo Mauritania Uganda
Ethiopia Mozambique
Haiti Sierra Leone

* Iraq was paying for all vaccines before the war in the Persian Gulf.

SOURCE UNICEF field offices and WHO, January 1996.

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