Cost-Effectiveness of Pediatric Influenza Vaccination in The Netherlands
This study evaluates the cost-effectiveness of extending the Dutch influenza vaccination program for elderly and medical high-risk groups to include pediatric influenza vaccination, taking indirect protection into account.
An age-structured dynamic transmission model was used that was calibrated to influenza-associated GP visits over 4 seasons (2010-2011 to 2013-2014). The clinical and economic impact of different pediatric vaccination strategies were compared over 20 years, varying the targeted age range, the vaccine type for children or elderly and high-risk groups. Outcome measures include averted symptomatic infections and deaths, societal costs and quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios. Costs and QALYs were discounted at 4% and 1.5% annually.
At an assumed coverage of 50%, adding pediatric vaccination for 2- to 17-year-olds with quadrivalent live-attenuated vaccine to the current vaccination program for elderly and medical high-groups with quadrivalent inactivated vaccine was estimated to avert, on average, 401 820 symptomatic cases and 72 deaths per year. Approximately half of averted symptomatic cases and 99% of averted deaths were prevented in other age groups than 2- to 17-year-olds due to herd immunity. The cumulative discounted 20-year economic impact was 35 068 QALYs gained and €1687 million saved, that is, the intervention was cost-saving. This vaccination strategy had the highest probability of being the most cost-effective strategy considered, dominating pediatric strategies targeting 2- to 6-year-olds or 2- to 12-year-olds or strategies with trivalent inactivated vaccine.
Modeling indicates that introducing pediatric influenza vaccination in The Netherlands is cost-saving, reducing the influenza-related disease burden substantially.