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The Journal of the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at The George Washington University


This cost-benefit analysis studies the most significant costs and benefits of the new requirement in Washington, D.C. that all parents of sixth-grade girls certify that their children are vaccinated against the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Thelargest costs are the economic cost of purchasing the vaccine and the costs of administration to providers, which total just over $2.1 million per year. Additional costs that cannot be easily monetized but are included conceptually include the potential for adverse events and opportunity costs of providers and parents. The largest potential for benefits from this policy relate to the two diseases prevented by the vaccine: genital warts and cervical cancer. By quantifying the cost of treatment for both diseases and estimating the economic value of lives lost, this analysis estimates the benefits to be nearly $1.5 million yearly. Thus, the economic analysis finds this policy inefficient, since benefits greatly outweigh costs in all but one scenario of sensitivity analysis. The analysis also identifies the limitations of this study and of cost-benefit analysis generally, and cautions against the sole use of cost-benefit analysis, especially for health policy decisions.

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