Vaccines developed by the pharmaceutical industry save lives, prevent diseases, benefit our economy and support the NHS.

Vaccines developed by the pharmaceutical industry save lives, prevent diseases, benefit our economy and support the NHS.

Every year, 2 to 3 million lives are saved across the world through immunisation.

After clean water, vaccines are the greatest public intervention for reducing infectious diseases and deaths.1,2

It’s why pharmaceutical companies are constantly researching new vaccines to protect us all.


Vaccines are used as a preventative measure in healthy individuals to protect the body against a particular disease.

They have eliminated polio, diphtheria and congenital rubella from the UK - helping to reduce the burden of infectious diseases.3 In fact, 5 lives are saved by vaccination every 60 seconds.4


From 2000 - 2018 measles vaccinations prevented an estimated 23.2 million deaths.6


Flu vaccines help prevent between 5,000 and 9,000 deaths per year.7


Protecting against HPV through vaccination can prevent 7 types of cancer including mouth, throat and cervix.5

Economy, society & health

Keeping people healthy at all stages of life

With the global population of people aged 60 and older growing, vaccination has become a key component of healthy ageing.

In the first five years of the shingles vaccine programme, there have been over 49,000 fewer GP visits and over 1,800 fewer hospitalisations for shingles and its complications, saving the NHS an estimated £10.5million.8

The economic impact of vaccination is broad

Vaccination has delivered huge public health benefits for a relatively small investment. The cost of buying vaccines is just 0.3% of the total health budget.9 In addition, the return on investment of public health interventions averages around £14 for every £1 spent.10

Without vaccination, 1.6 million school days are missed every year and vaccination helps to prevent loss of productivity through illness and absence from work.11, 12  

6 million working days are lost in the UK due to seasonal flu every year.12

Pharmaceutical exports (not just vaccines) are worth more than £27 billion. An increase in UK manufacturing capacity for vaccines would provide a significant economic opportunity for the UK.13

A healthy society

High uptake is needed to keep infectious diseases under control.

Before the introduction of the childhood pneumococcal vaccination, one child in every 200 in the UK was admitted to hospital for pneumococcal pneumonia during their first five years.14

Without vaccination, there are 3,700 hospitalisations in England annually from complications with chickenpox.15

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Global impact

Vaccinations developed by the pharmaceutical industry have transformed global healthcare, making a huge impact on the health and prosperity of people around the world.

The pharmaceutical industry is working with the global not-for-profit alliance Gavi to vaccinate children in the world’s poorest countries.16

Over four years the UK contributed £1.44 billion to Gavi to vaccinate children living in these countries.17

Through this global alliance, pharmaceutical companies aim to immunise 300 million more children globally in the next five years.18

For every dollar invested in vaccination in the world’s 94 lowest-income countries, US$16 are expected to be saved in healthcare costs, lost wages and lost productivity due to illness and death.17


  1. Global Immunisation Factsheet (WHO, Jan 2018)
  2. Andre FE et al. Vaccination greatly reduces disease, disability death and inequity worldwide. Bulletin of World Health                                     
  3. PHE, Why vaccinate, Apr 2018
  4. Rappuoli R. Pizza M et al, Vaccines, new opportunities for a new society. Proceedings of the national academy of sciences of the United States of America, 2014
  5. NHS, HPV vaccine overview and PHE vaccination timeline, 2019
  6. WHO, Measles factsheet, December 2019
  7. International Longevity Centre UK, Flu vaccine saves millions in averted lost employment and lost informal care, 2018
  8. PHE, Vaccine update, Sep 2020
  9. DHSC Annual Report and Accounts, Budget 2018: What this means for health and social care, Kings Fund, Nov 2018
  10. DHSC, Prevention is better than cure, 2018
  11. MSD, Data on file: GB-WX-00068, 2020
  12. European Scientific Working Group on Influenza, Economic impact of seasonal influenza, Mar 2018
  13. EFPIA. Latest 2019 EFPIA data, 2019
  14. Oxford Vaccine Group, Vaccine Knowledge Project, Pneumococcal Disease, 2018
  15. Hobbelen PHF et al,. Journal of Infectious Diseases: 73:241-253, 2019
  16. Gavi, About our alliance, 2020
  17. Gavi, Value of vaccinations – Cost effective, Apr 2020
  18. Gavi, Generation Gavi: Partnering to protect health through life-saving vaccines, May 2020