Researchers Examine Return on Investment of the COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign in New York City

New York City, an early epicenter of the pandemic, invested heavily in its COVID-19 vaccination campaign to mitigate the burden of disease outbreaks. Understanding the return on investment (ROI) of this campaign would provide insights into vaccination programs to curb future COVID-19 outbreaks. Sah, et al. (2022) sought to estimate the ROI of the New York City COVID-19 vaccination campaign by estimating the tangible direct and indirect costs from a societal perspective.

Costs of healthcare and deaths were estimated in the actual pandemic trajectory with vaccination and in the counterfactual scenario without vaccination. The savings achieved by vaccination, which were associated with fewer outpatient visits, emergency department visits, emergency medical services, hospitalizations, and intensive care unit admissions, were also estimated. The value of a statistical life (VSL) lost due to COVID-19 death and the productivity loss from illness were accounted for in calculating the ROI.

During the study period, the vaccination campaign averted an estimated $27.96 (95% credible interval [CrI], $26.19-$29.84) billion in healthcare expenditures and 315 724 (95% CrI, 292 143-340 420) potential years of life lost, averting VSL loss of $26.27 (95% CrI, $24.39-$28.21) billion. The estimated net savings attributable to vaccination were $51.77 (95% CrI, $48.50-$55.85) billion. Every $1 invested in vaccination yielded estimated savings of $10.19 (95% CrI, $9.39-$10.87) in direct and indirect costs of health outcomes that would have been incurred without vaccination.

Results of this modeling study showed an association of the New York City COVID-19 vaccination campaign with reduction in severe outcomes and avoidance of substantial economic losses. This significant ROI supports continued investment in improving vaccine uptake during the ongoing pandemic.

Reference: Sah P. et al. Return on Investment of the COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign in New York City. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5(11):e2243127. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.43127