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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(11), 1304;

Vaccines as Epidemic Insurance

Department of Health Care Management, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania 208 Colonial Penn Center, 3641 Locust Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
Received: 13 September 2017 / Revised: 19 October 2017 / Accepted: 20 October 2017 / Published: 27 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insurance and Health)
Full-Text   |   PDF [247 KB, uploaded 27 October 2017]


This paper explores the relationship between the research for and development of vaccines against global pandemics and insurance. It shows that development in advance of pandemics of a portfolio of effective and government-approved vaccines does have some insurance properties: it requires incurring costs that are certain (the costs of discovering, developing, and testing vaccines) in return for protection against large losses (if a pandemic treatable with one of the vaccines occurs) but also with the possibility of no benefit (from a vaccine against a disease that never reaches the pandemic stage). It then argues that insurance against the latter event might usefully be offered to organizations developing vaccines, and explores the benefits of insurance payments to or on behalf of countries who suffer from unpredictable pandemics. These ideas are then related to recent government, industry, and philanthropic efforts to develop better policies to make vaccines against pandemics available on a timely basis. View Full-Text
Keywords: insurance; vaccines; pandemics; risk; vaccine pricing; mutual insurance insurance; vaccines; pandemics; risk; vaccine pricing; mutual insurance
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Pauly, M.V. Vaccines as Epidemic Insurance. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 1304.

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