Incorporation of health economic evaluation into immunization policy-making in Canada: Barriers and facilitators

Hester A. Hopman, Natasha S. Crowcroft, Tomris Cesuroglu, Joanne M. Langley*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Introduction: Despite the WHO recommendation that economic evidence be considered in national vaccine recommendations, this element of decision-making has been lacking or not done routinely in Canada. This study aimed to investigate barriers and facilitators to using economic evaluations in public health immunization programs decision-making across Canadian jurisdictions. Methods: This mixed methods study consisted of a cross-sectional survey and semi-structured interviews of national, provincial and territorial public health level key informants, and of members of the national immunization research network in Canada. Barriers were categorized according to accessibility (e.g. access to human resources to conduct the evaluation) and acceptability (e.g. political resistance to using the evaluation). Results: Of 63 survey participants, 12 were federal, provincial or territorial key informants (response rate 12/31, 39%) and 51 were members from the research network (response rate 51/214, 24%). Eleven stakeholders gave semi-structured interviews. All respondents support increased use of economic evaluation and of it becoming a routine part of immunization policy-making. However, 70% of the survey respondents identified limited resources (human and financial) to perform economic evaluations, and 39% reported lack of expertise to interpret economic evidence. Vaccine effectiveness and the burden of disease were seen as more important than cost-effectiveness by survey respondents and interviewees. Potential facilitators were for economic evaluations to either be conducted at the national level, or through a collaboration between provinces and territories with capacity to address shared needs so that evaluations occurred in a co-ordinated but distributed way. Recommendations: Barriers to incorporation of economic evaluation in immunization policy-making in Canada include lacking human and financial resources to conduct them and understanding of economic evidence. National, provincial and territorial public health actors reported that facilitators to incorporating economic evidence include developing increased capacity to conduct and use economic evaluations and establishing inter-jurisdictional systems to share the work of conducting economic evaluation and/or by national leadership.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2512-2518
Number of pages7
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • Economics
  • Health care economics and organizations
  • Immunization programs
  • Public policy
  • Vaccines


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