In the last 5 years, guidelines have been developed for performing cost-effectiveness analyses (CEAs) for the economic evaluation of vaccination programs against infectious diseases. However, these cost-effectiveness guidelines do not provide specific guidance for including the value of reducing the risk of rare but potentially catastrophic health outcomes, such as mortality or long-term sequelae. Alternative economic evaluation methods, including extended CEA, the impact inventory, cost-benefit analyses, willingness to pay or the value of a statistical life, to capture the value of this risk reduction could provide more complete estimates of the value of vaccination programs for diseases with potentially catastrophic health and nonhealth outcomes. In this commentary, using invasive meningococcal disease as an example, we describe these alternative approaches along with examples to illustrate how the benefits of vaccination in reducing risk of catastrophic health outcomes can be valued. These benefits are not usually captured in CEAs that only include population benefits estimated as the quality-adjusted life-years gained and reduced costs from avoided cases.
Josephine Mauskopf Catherine Masaquel Liping Huang