Is Investment to Increase Vaccination in Older Adults Worth the Cost?

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Gaining optimal vaccination coverage for older adults in the US

Health guidelines recommend that older adults in the US be vaccinated for vaccine-preventable influenza, whooping cough, shingles, and pneumococcal disease. But the number vaccinated is considered suboptimal. The cost of caring for persons with these diseases is substantial, but would the additional cost to increase vaccination rates provide an acceptable value?

Cost and Benefit Analysis

Researchers with GSK and RTI Health Solutions conducted an exploratory study to understand the costs and benefits of such a program over the next 30 years. They created two analysis scenarios: comparing current vaccination coverage versus no vaccination coverage and comparing increased coverage to current coverage. Researchers also accounted for the projected shift in the US population toward older age groups over the study period.

Research Findings

The analysis results support the clinical and financial value of current and increased vaccination coverage among older adults for the four diseases studied. The economic modeling showed that the current level of vaccine coverage would reduce the number of disease cases by over 64 million compared to no vaccine coverage. Increasing vaccine coverage would prevent an additional 33 million disease cases.

Results indicated that each dollar invested in current and increased vaccination coverage would result in more than one dollar of disease-related cost savings from a societal perspective. Efforts to further increase vaccination coverage in older adults may therefore be economically justifiable.

Cost-benefit analysis of vaccination against four preventable diseases in older adults: Impact of an aging populationJustin Carrico, Sandra E. Talbird, Elizabeth M. La, Sara Poston, Jean-Etienne Poirrier, Jessica K. DeMartino, Cosmina Hogea.
Study sponsored and coauthored by GSK.

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