Experts and the Ombudsman for Children call for the chickenpox vaccine to be included in the National Immunisation Programme12.04.2016
Practically everyone gets chickenpox. The clinical picture varies from mild symptoms to complicated and potentially life-threatening illness. Experts say the vaccine would eradicate chickenpox from Finland in a couple of years. The chickenpox vaccine has been used in parts of the world since the 1990s and it has proved to be safe for the subject.
Ombudsman for Children concerned about children’s well-being
Ombudsman for Children Tuomas Kurttila says the vaccine should be included in the National Immunisation Programme because it would increase children’s well-being and reduce treatment costs. Like the experts, he considers the chickenpox vaccine to be a cost-effective investment.
“Vaccination is an effective tool for preventing the spread of diseases that compromise children’s health. Investing in children is in the interest of public health and the national economy. The Finnish government should decide on funding for the chickenpox vaccine in the next budget, as it would create overall savings for the economy.
Chickenpox causes 76,000 days of absence from work
According to vaccine experts at the National Institute for Health and Welfare, including the chickenpox vaccine in the National Immunisation Programme would produce approximately €2 million in annual savings in health care costs.
The other costs of chickenpox are many times higher. Parents are absent from work for approximately 76,000 days per year due to their children being ill with chickenpox. According to the National Institute for Health and Welfare’s estimate, the cost of these absences to society is approximately €14 million.
The National Immunisation Programme is estimated to cost €4.2 million per year. Looking at the economic interest of society as a whole, every euro invested in the chickenpox vaccine would quickly pay itself back more than threefold. No funding has been granted for the vaccine in the state budget for the time being.
The vaccine is already available to people at their own expense
The vaccine is already available in Finland to people who take it at their own expense. Prescriptions for the vaccine can be obtained from maternity and child health clinics, health centres and medical centres.
Vaccines are also administered to women of fertile age who work in environments such as day-care centres. Chickenpox is particularly dangerous for pregnant women.
- Press release by the Ombudsman for Children, 5 March 2016 (in Finnish)
- THL (in Finnish)
- Helsingin Sanomat 31 March 2016 (in Finnish)