Newer Rotavirus Vaccines Can Save Lives and Budgets

Rotavirus vaccination still represents excellent value for the investment
young children in africa playing with a box

A new study provides evidence that rotavirus vaccination is ‘still a cost-effective investment for most countries.’

And this study concluded that ‘countries should consider newly available rotavirus vaccine products, as they might offer more affordable options.’

Published on December 1, 2019, in The Lancet Global Health, investigators from PATH, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed the potential costs of rotavirus vaccinations in 73 countries from 2018 through 2027.

This study concluded that ‘rotavirus vaccination has the potential to prevent nearly 600,000 deaths in these 73 countries.’ 

And, rotavirus vaccines can avert outpatient visits and hospitalizations could lead to treatment savings of approximately $484 million dollars from the government perspective and $878 million from the societal perspective. 

The study team used a “deterministic cohort model” to calculate numbers of rotavirus gastroenteritis cases, outpatient visits, hospitalizations, and deaths between birth and 5 years, with and without rotavirus vaccination. They also attempted to calculate treatment costs from both a government and a societal perspective.

These researchers based their analysis on the 4 rotavirus vaccines prequalified by the World Health Organization (WHO) at the end of 2018. They ran ‘what-if’ scenarios in which all 73 countries used the same product.

These vaccines were Rotarix (manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, Rixensart, Belgium), RotaTeq (manufactured by Merck and Co, Kenilworth, NJ, USA), Rotavac (manufactured by Bharat Biotech, Hyderabad, India), and Rotasiil (manufactured by Serum Institute, Pune, India).

Rotarix was administered in a 2-dose schedule whereas the other vaccines were administered in a 3-dose schedule.

Like previous analyses, this analysis also shows that the health benefits of rotavirus vaccination are concentrated in the highest-burden regions. 

Unsurprisingly, rotavirus vaccination is less cost-effective in some lower-burden regions that pay higher vaccine prices.

They said ‘This analysis serves as an important reminder to continue to prioritize immunization in the context of efforts to achieve universal health coverage, health equity, and other important priorities.’

‘Vaccination has always been considered one of the best buys in public health and the evolving norms in interpreting cost-effectiveness results have not fundamentally changed the outcome of our analysis.’ 

‘Rotavirus vaccination still represents good, if not excellent, value for money, which is an important message for everyone,’ concluded these researchers.

Rotavirus vaccine news published by Precision Vaccinations