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A new study, published in February in the journal Health Affairs, suggests that there is another option: In many cases, the medical bills can be pre-empted by prevention, through the widespread and affordable use of vaccines.We already know that vaccines are one of the most cost-effective ways to prevent disease and death, and the new study provides additional supporting evidence. By modeling the health and economic impact of childhood vaccines for 10 diseases in 41 of the poorest countries, the researchers estimate that from 2016 to 2030, these vaccines will prevent 36 million deaths. Thanks to global health organizations like the WHO, UNICEF and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, vaccination is already one of the most widely available health interventions ever. With 80 percent of the world's poorest children now getting access to routine immunization – meaning three shots of a diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis-containing vaccine – we already have a health platform upon which to build UHC, even in the most challenging of countries.And now, as this new study implies, immunization has an additional, indirect role to play.
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