The potential economic value of a 'universal' (multi-year) influenza vaccine

Lee BY, Tai JH, McGlone SM, Bailey RR, Wateska AR, Zimmer SM, Zimmerman RK, Wagner MM. The potential economic value of a 'universal' (multi-year) influenza vaccine. Influenza and other respiratory viruses. 2012 May;6(3):167-75. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-2659.2011.00288.x. Epub 2011 Sep 21. PMID: 21933357. PMCID: PMC3253949.


Limitations of the current annual influenza vaccine have led to ongoing efforts to develop a “universal” influenza vaccine, i.e., one that targets a ubiquitous portion of the influenza virus so that the coverage of a single vaccination can persist for multiple years.


To estimate the economic value of a “universal” influenza vaccine compared to the standard annual influenza vaccine, starting vaccination in the pediatric population (2–18 year olds), over the course of their lifetime.


Monte Carlo decision analytic computer simulation model


Universal vaccine dominates (i.e., less costly and more effective) the annual vaccine when the universal vaccine cost ≤$100/dose and efficacy ≥75% for both the 5 and 10 year duration. The universal vaccine is also dominant when efficacy is ≥50% and protects for 10 years. A $200 universal vaccine was only cost-effective when ≥75% efficacious for a 5 year duration when annual compliance was 25% and for a 10 year duration for all annual compliance rates. A universal vaccine is not cost-effective when it cost $200 and when its efficacy is ≤50%. The cost-effectiveness of the universal vaccine increases with the duration of protection.


Although development of a universal vaccine requires surmounting scientific hurdles, our results delineate the circumstances under which such a vaccine would be a cost-effective alternative to the annual influenza vaccine.

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