Cost-benefit evaluation of routine influenza immunisation in people 65-74 years of age
Allsup, S., Gosney, M. A., Haycox, A. and Regan, M. (2005) Cost-benefit evaluation of routine influenza immunisation in people 65-74 years of age. Health Technology Assessment, 7 (20). pp. 1-65. ISSN 1366-5278
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Official URL: http://www.hta.ac.uk/
OBJECTIVES: To determine the cost-effectiveness of influenza vaccination in people aged 65-74 years in the absence of co-morbidity. DESIGN: Primary research: randomised controlled trial. SETTING: Primary care. PARTICIPANTS: People without risk factors for influenza or contraindications to vaccination were identified from 20 general practitioner (GP) practices in Liverpool in September 1999 and invited to participate in the study. There were 5875/9727 (60.4%) people aged 65-74 years identified as potentially eligible and, of these, 729 (12%) were randomised. INTERVENTION: Participants were randomised to receive either influenza vaccine or placebo (ratio 3:1), with all individuals receiving pneumococcal vaccine unless administered in the previous 10 years. Of the 729 people randomised, 552 received vaccine and 177 received placebo; 726 individuals were administered pneumococcal vaccine. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES AND METHODOLOGY OF ECONOMIC EVALUATION: GP attendance with influenza-like illness (ILI) or pneumonia (primary outcome measure); or any respiratory symptoms; hospitalisation with a respiratory illness; death; participant self-reported ILI; quality of life (QoL) measures at 2, 4 and 6 months post-study vaccination; adverse reactions 3 days after vaccination. A cost-effectiveness analysis was undertaken to identify the incremental cost associated with the avoidance of episodes of influenza in the vaccination population and an impact model was used to extrapolate the cost-effectiveness results obtained from the trial to assess their generalisability throughout the NHS. RESULTS: In England and Wales, weekly consultations for influenza and ILI remained at baseline levels (less than 50 per 100,000 population) until week 50/1999 and then increased rapidly, peaking during week 2/2000 with a rate of 231/100,000. This rate fell within the range of 'higher than expected seasonal activity' of 200-400/100,000. Rates then quickly declined, returning to baseline levels by week 5/2000. The predominant circulating strain during this period was influenza A (H3N2). Five (0.9%) people in the vaccine group were diagnosed by their GP with an ILI compared to two (1.1%) in the placebo group [relative risk (RR), 0.8; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.16 to 4.1]. No participants were diagnosed with pneumonia by their GP and there were no hospitalisations for respiratory illness in either group. Significantly fewer vaccinated individuals self-reported a single ILI (4.6% vs 8.9%, RR, 0.51; 95% CI for RR, 0.28 to 0.96). There was no significant difference in any of the QoL measurements over time between the two groups. Reported systemic side-effects showed no significant differences between groups. Local side-effects occurred with a significantly increased incidence in the vaccine group (11.3% vs 5.1%, p = 0.02). Each GP consultation avoided by vaccination was estimated from trial data to generate a net NHS cost of 174 pounds. CONCLUSIONS: No difference was seen between groups for the primary outcome measure, although the trial was underpowered to demonstrate a true difference. Vaccination had no significant effect on any of the QoL measures used, although vaccinated individuals were less likely to self-report ILI. The analysis did not suggest that influenza vaccination in healthy people aged 65-74 years would lead to lower NHS costs. Future research should look at ways to maximise vaccine uptake in people at greatest risk from influenza and also the level of vaccine protection afforded to people from different age and socio-economic populations.