Big impact: How public health leaders are evaluating potential reductions in real-world disease burden when deploying new vaccines.

In the last century, vaccines against diseases such as polio, measles, rubella and tetanus, dramatically reduced what were once widespread death and disability. Since then, leaders in biomedical research and public health have been developing and deploying vaccines which are technically more challenging: rotavirus, HPV, meningococcal, and dengue, among others. Maladies like these, while not as vastly life-threatening as the big diseases of the 20th century, today represent significant and often worsening public health burdens that too often weigh heaviest on life and development in low and middle-income countries. While prophylactic vaccines remain, hands-down, one of the most cost-effective health care interventions, further understanding new vaccines’ potential real-world impact and prioritizing them accordingly is essential to winning the 21st century fight against these more complex diseases.

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