BACKGROUND: Influenza is an infectious disease causing a high annual economic and public health burden. The most efficient management of the disease is through prevention with vaccination. Many influenza vaccines are available, with varying efficacy and cost, targeting different age groups. Therefore, strategic decision-making about which vaccine to deliver to whom is warranted to improve efficiency.
OBJECTIVE: We present the use of a constrained optimization (CO) model to evaluate targeted strategies for providing influenza vaccines in three adult age groups in the USA.
METHODS: CO was considered for identifying an influenza vaccine provision strategy that maximizes the benefits at constrained annual budgets, by prioritizing vaccines based on return on investment. The approach optimizes a set of predefined outcome measures over several years resulting from an increasing investment using the best combination of influenza vaccines.
RESULTS: Results indicate the importance of understanding the relative differences in benefits for each vaccine type within and across age groups. Scenario and threshold analyses demonstrate the impact of changing budget distribution over time, price setting per vaccine type, and selection of outcome measure to optimize.
CONCLUSION: Significant gains in cost efficiency can be realized for a decision-maker using a CO model, especially for a disease like influenza with many vaccine options. Testing the model under different scenarios offers powerful insights into maximum achievable benefit overall and per age group within the predefined constraints of a vaccine budget.