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Open Access Research article

Demand for pneumococcal vaccination under subsidy program for the elderly in Japan

Masahide Kondo1, Mariko Yamamura2*, Shu-Ling Hoshi1 and Ichiro Okubo1

Author Affiliations

1 University of Tsukuba, Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences, Doctoral Program in Human Care Science, Department of Health Care Policy and Management, 1-1-1 Tennoudai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan

2 Hiroshima University, Graduate School of Education, Department of Mathematics Education, 1-1-1 Kagamiyama, Higashi-Hiroshima, Japan

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BMC Health Services Research 2012, 12:313  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-313

Published: 12 September 2012

Abstract

Background

Vaccination programs often organize subsidies and public relations in order to obtain high uptake rates and coverage. However, effects of subsidies and public relations have not been studied well in the literature. In this study, the demand function of pneumococcal vaccination among the elderly in Japan is estimated, incorporating effects of public relations and subsidy.

Methods

Using a data from a questionnaire survey sent to municipalities, the varying and constant elasticity models were applied to estimate the demand function. The response variable is the uptake rate. Explanatory variables are: subsidy supported shot price, operating years of the program, target population size for vaccination, shot location intensity, income and various public relations tools. The best model is selected by c-AIC, and varying and constant price elasticities are calculated from estimation results.

Results

The vaccine uptake rate and the shot price have a negative relation. From the results of varying price elasticity, the demand for vaccination is elastic at municipalities with a shot price higher than 3,708 JPY (35.7 USD). Effects of public relations on the uptake rate are not found.

Conclusions

It can be suggested that municipalities with a shot price higher than 3,708 JPY (35.7 USD) could subsidize more and reduce price to increase the demand for vaccination. Effects of public relations are not confirmed in this study, probably due to measurement errors of variables used for public relations, and studies at micro level exploring individual’s response to public relations would be required.

Keywords:
Demand; Elderly; Vaccination program; Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV); Price elasticity; Public relations; Subsidy