Despite changes in pneumococcal epidemiology, current CDC recommendations were favored in underserved minority and general population cohorts. Polysaccharide vaccine for all 50-year-olds could be considered under some vaccine uptake and effectiveness assumptions, particularly if mitigating racial health disparities in pneumococcal disease is a priority.
A Markov cohort model estimated the cost-effectiveness of US pneumococcal vaccination policies in hypothetical 50-year-old underserved minority and general population cohorts. Strategies included receiving one or both available pneumococcal vaccines based on age- or chronic condition-specific criteria. US databases and medical literature data calibrated pneumococcal illness incidence, vaccine serotype distributions, age- and race-specific chronic condition distributions, and costs. Black population data were used as a proxy for underserved minorities. We took a US healthcare perspective, discounting at 3%/year. One-way and probabilistic sensitivity analyses were performed and scenarios modeling differing vaccine assumptions were examined.
In both black and general population 50-year-olds, giving both pneumococcal vaccines to all 50-year-olds prevented the most disease, but cost >$250,000 per quality adjusted life year (QALY) gained. Current CDC recommendations (both vaccines for the immunocompromised, polysaccharide vaccine for other high-risk conditions) were economically favorable in either population when analyses assumed polysaccharide vaccine was ineffective against nonbacteremic pneumococcal pneumonia (NBP). If polysaccharide vaccine is effective against NBP or if less complex age-based vaccination recommendations result in increased vaccine uptake, giving polysaccharide vaccine to all 50-year-olds cost <$100,000/QALY; this effect was more pronounced in black cohorts. Results were robust in 1-way and probabilistic sensitivity analyses.
Changing pneumococcal disease epidemiology due to childhood vaccination has prompted re-examination of US adult pneumococcal vaccination policies, as have considerations of greater pneumococcal disease incidence and higher prevalence of conditions that increase risk in underserved minority populations. Prior analyses suggest routine pneumococcal vaccination at age 50 could be considered, which could disproportionately benefit underserved populations.