Cost-effectiveness of next-generation vaccines: The case of pertussis.


Despite steady vaccination coverage rates, pertussis incidence in the United States has continued to rise. This public health challenge has motivated calls for the development of a new vaccine with greater efficacy and duration of protection. Any next-generation vaccine would likely come at a higher cost, and must provide sufficient health benefits beyond those provided by the current vaccine in order to be deemed cost-effective. Using an age-structured transmission model of pertussis, we quantified the health and economic benefits of a next-generation vaccine that would enhance either the efficacy or duration of protection of the childhood series, the duration of the adult booster, or a combination. We developed a metric, the maximum cost-effective price increase (MCPI), to compare the potential value of such improvements. The MCPI estimates the per-dose price increase that would maintain the cost-effectiveness of pertussis vaccination. We evaluated the MCPI across a range of potential single and combined improvements to the pertussis vaccine. As an upper bound, we found that a next-generation vaccine which could achieve perfect efficacy for the childhood series would permit an MCPI of $18 per dose (95% CI: $12-$31). Pertussis vaccine improvements that extend the duration of protection to an average of 75 years would allow for an MCPI of $22 per dose for the childhood series (CI: $10-$33) or $12 for the adult booster (CI: $4-$18). Despite the short duration of the adult booster, improvements to the childhood series could be more valuable than improvements to the adult booster. Combining improvements in both efficacy and duration, a childhood series with perfect efficacy and average duration of 75 years would permit an MCPI of $39 per dose, the highest of any scenario evaluated. Our results highlight the utility of the MCPI metric in evaluating potential vaccines or other interventions when prices are unknown.

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