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Is Vaccination Worthwhile Before Travel?

  • G. Wiedermann

Summary

Possible immunizations for travelers to developing countries may be divided into three categories: compulsory, commonly recommended and occasionally recommended immunizations. When trying to judge their beneficial effects we may do so from two points of view: by considering risk and benefit or cost and benefit. Calculations can be done by the introduction of simple mathematical formulas. In the case of risk-benefit calculations the risk-benefit ratio (Q) weighs risk of disease against risk of vaccination, which is recommendable if Q > 1.0. The risk-benefit difference considers preventable disease or complications. An immunization is recommendable if D > 0. Similarly, the cost-benefit ratio( Q c ) considers cost-effectiveness and the cost-benefit difference (D c ) presents the amount of money saved. Four examples have been chosen for these calculations: vaccination against cholera, tetanus and poliomyelitis and passive immunization against hepatitis A. In the case of cholera Q c < 1, indicating that this vaccination is not cost effective. However, Q is a bit more than 1 and D above O. Tetanus vaccination of people staying at home or travelling is recommendable and just cost-effective. Costs of OPV are being paid by the Austrian government; Q and D (risk-benefit parameters) are highly positive. Passive immunization against hepatitis A is recommendable and cost-effective for Austrian soldiers on UN mission. For the individual traveler it is cost-effective if the hepatitis risk is > 1:150.

Keywords

Military Personnel Passive Immunization Japanese Encephalitis Austrian Government Swiss Franc 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1989

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  • G. Wiedermann

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