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Ellen Wolff new PhD student at the Health Metrics unit

News: Dec 19, 2016

Ellen Wolff has a master's degree in Economics from the University of Gothenburg and currently works as a health economist at the Public Health Agency of Sweden.

During Ellen's PhD studies she will work on a project related to the cost-effectiveness of child vaccination programs. Vaccination programs and the implementation of such programs are of outmost importance to public health. Second to clean water, vaccinations are the most efficient way to promote health and to save lives, not just only in low-income countries. Many severe diseases that in earlier days caused a significant burden of disease and premature deaths have become more or less extinct in Sweden, much thank to vaccination programs and its high coverage.

The vaccinations that are included in the childhood vaccination program in Sweden are free of charge for the individual, yet substantial societal costs are involved. In Sweden, it is the Public Health Agency that give recommendations to the government on which vaccines that should be included in the national vaccination programs. One of three decision criteria is that it should be cost-effective, i.e. have a reasonable health effect in relation to its cost. Health economic assessments are therefore central in the assessment of new vaccines in the national vaccination programmes. Vaccination must further reduce transmission and burden of the disease, and it must be ethical.

Ellen's planned research will explore the usefulness of using different types of epidemiological models in cost-effectiveness analyses of vaccines to provide guidelines on when to use which model. The inclusion of herd immunity as an indirect effect of vaccination will also be assessed, i.e. when it should be implemented in an epidemiological model, through analyzing cost-effectiveness analyses of vaccination against three illnesses with different epidemiological characteristics. Ellen also plans to develop and present a proposed model for discounting health effects and costs of preventive measures, as well as to investigate the societal value of prophylaxis in comparison with on-demand treatment, both empirically and theoretically.

The Health Metrics unit are very happy to welcome Ellen as a new external PhD student. Ellen will be very valuable for the continuing expansion of the health economics research at the unit.


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