When Harvard School of Public Health professor David Bloom first arrived in Hamilton earlier this month and saw a giant billboard saying “Don’t assume you’re immune” he had to stop his car and take a picture.
The billboard in central Hamilton was encouraging people to check if they had been immunised against measles.
Speaking today at Waikato Hospital on The value of Vaccination, Dr Bloom said the recurrence of diseases like measles and whooping cough in places like New Zealand showed the value of vaccinating and that we are still seeing disease outbreaks because of those who did not vaccinate.
Some of that was due to now discredited research by Andrew Wakefield, a British former surgeon and medical researcher, that there was a link between the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and the appearance of autism and bowel disease.
Dr Bloom, an American author, professor, economist and demographer who is Waikato University’s visiting golden jubilee professor, described it as “deliberate fraud” which saw a whole anti-vaccine movement rise up around the world.
In a wide ranging presentation Dr Bloom covered four main points:
- Reviewed new ideas on key links between health and wealth
- Discussed the role of vaccination as a driver of both health and wealth
- Shared insights from studies that operationalise the conceptual value of vaccination framework
- Reviewed the New Zealand context.
He said economists failed to recognise the full potential benefits of health and vaccine interventions and predicted that health economists would be very busy reworking their theories and research.
“Don’t focus on the costs in isolation – you need to look at true benefits as well as costs. You can’t assess the cost without reference to the benefits.”
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