Team Lead, Applied Research and Modeling
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
We used recently published values for averted outcomes due to influenza vaccination for influenza seasons 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08, and 2008-09, and age cohorts 6 months-4 years, 5-19 years, 20-64 years, and 65 years and above. Costs were calculated according to a payer and societal perspective (in 2009 US$), and took into account medical costs and productivity losses.
Seasonal influenza causes considerable morbidity and mortality across all age groups, and influenza vaccination was recommended in 2010 for all persons aged 6 months and above. We estimated the averted costs due to influenza vaccination, taking into account the seasonal economic burden of the disease.
When taking into account direct medical costs (payer perspective), influenza vaccination was cost saving only for the older age group (65≥) in seasons 2005-06 and 2007-08. Using the same perspective, influenza vaccination resulted in total costs of $US 1.7 billion (95%CI: $US 0.3-4.0 billion) in 2006-07 and $US 1.8 billion (95%CI: $US 0.1-4.1 billion) in 2008-09. When taking into account a societal perspective (and including the averted lost earnings due to premature death) averted deaths in the older age group influenced the results, resulting in cost savings for all ages combined in season 07-08.
Influenza vaccination was cost saving in the older age group (65≥) when taking into account productivity losses and, in some seasons, when taking into account medical costs only. Averted costs vary significantly per season; however, in seasons where the averted burden of deaths is high in the older age group, averted productivity losses due to premature death tilt overall seasonal results towards savings. Indirect vaccination effects and the possibility of diminished case severity due to influenza vaccination were not considered, thus the averted burden due to influenza vaccine may be even greater than reported.