December 2002, Vol 92, No. 12 | American Journal of
Public Health

Childhood Vaccine Purchase Costs in the Public Sector:
Past Trends, Future Expectations

Matthew M. Davis, MD, MAPP, Jessica L. Zimmerman, BA,
John R. C. Wheeler, PhD and  Gary L. Freed, MD, MPH

Objectives. We examined recent public-sector trends in
childhood vaccine costs and estimated future costs.

Methods. We used public-sector price data to calculate
vaccine purchase cost per child for children aged 0 to
6 years from 1975 to 2001. We fit a linear regression
model to historical data and then used it to project
costs per child from 2002 to 2020, adjusted to 2001 US

Results. Controlling for inflation, the cost of
vaccine purchase per child climbed from $10 in 1975 to
$385 in 2001. The cost of vaccine purchase in the year
2020 following recommendation of 7 additional vaccines
is estimated to be $1225 per child (95% confidence
interval = $891, $1559).

Conclusions. The cost per child for recommended
vaccines at public-sector prices may triple over the
next 2 decades. These projections have implications
for vaccine financing at federal and state levels.