Value Health

. 2021 Jan;24(1):32-40.
doi: 10.1016/j.jval.2020.05.022. Epub 2020 Nov 5.
Cost-Effectiveness of Routine Childhood Vaccination Against Seasonal Influenza in Germany

Stefan M Scholz 1 , Felix Weidemann 2 , Oliver Damm 3 , Bernhard Ultsch 2 , Wolfgang Greiner 3 , Ole Wichmann 2



Objectives: In Germany, routine influenza vaccination with quadrivalent influenza vaccines (QIV) is recommended and reimbursed for individuals ≥60 years of age and individuals with underlying chronic conditions. The present study examines the cost-effectiveness of a possible extension of the recommendation to include strategies of childhood vaccination against seasonal influenza using QIV.
Methods: A dynamic transmission model was used to examine the epidemiological impact of different childhood vaccination strategies. The outputs were used in a health economic decision tree to calculate the costs per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained from a societal and a third-party payer (TPP) perspective. Strain-specific epidemiology, vaccine uptake, and vaccine efficacy data from the 10 non-pandemic seasons from 2003/2004 to 2013/2014 were used, and cost data were drawn mainly from a health insurance claims data analysis and supplemented by estimates from literature. Uncertainty is explored via scenario, deterministic, and probabilistic sensitivity analyses.
Results: Vaccinating 2- to 9-year-olds with QIV assuming a vaccine uptake of 40% is cost-saving with a benefit-cost ratio of 1.66 from a societal perspective and an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of €998/QALY from a TPP perspective. Lower and higher vaccine uptakes show marginal effects, while extending the target group to 2- to 17-year-olds further increases the health benefits while still being below the willingness-to-pay (WTP) threshold. Assuming no vaccine-induced herd protection has a negative effect on the cost-effectiveness ratio, but childhood vaccination remains cost-effective.
Conclusion: Routine childhood vaccination against seasonal influenza in Germany is most likely to be cost-saving from a societal perspective and highly cost-effective from a TPP perspective.

Keywords: children; cost-effectiveness; decision analytic model; health economics; influenza; vaccine.