Evaluating cost effectiveness models of vaccine implementation

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Vaccinations, generally considered to be the most effective method for preventing infectious diseases, provide protection in terms of human cost, and may also provide good economic value. Cost effectiveness is an important factor for stakeholders in deciding whether to add an additional vaccine into the national vaccination program. Mathematical cost effectiveness models are useful in aiding decisions on whether or not to implement a new vaccination program. 

Raymond Hutubessy and colleagues from the World Health Organization (WHO) have today published a series of three articles for BMC Medicine that aim to make decision makers more aware of the intricacies of different types of cost effectiveness models, and to encourage modelers to share their expertise. In a debate article, they argue that, in low and middle income countries (LMICs) in particular, there has been little analysis of models of vaccine cost effectiveness. Due to their limited resources, the authors argue that this analysis is important so as to use the correct model when deciding whether or not to implement a particular vaccine. Two accompanying research papers analyze various cost effectiveness models for the national implementation of  pediatric pneumococcal conjugate vaccination (PCV) and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination. These articles highlight the importance of understanding differences and similarities in such tools, which come from both the public and private sector.

Using the correct models for vaccine cost effectiveness and knowing how to critically assess them is extremely important due to it having such a large bearing on vaccine implementation. This is especially important in LMICs where resources may be scarce.