How to Prevent Vaccines Falling Victim to Their Own Success: Intertemporal Dependency of Incidence Levels on Indirect Effects in Economic Reevaluations [Editor's Choice]

Oct 1, 2021, 00:00 AM
Section Order : 1391
First Page : 1391


Incremental cost-effectiveness analyses may inform the optimal choice of healthcare interventions. Nevertheless, for many vaccines, benefits fluctuate with incidence levels over time. Reevaluating a vaccine after it has successfully decreased incidences may eventually cause a disease resurgence if switching to a vaccine with lower indirect benefits. Decisions may successively alternate between vaccines alongside repeated rises and falls in incidence and when indirect effects from historic use are ignored. Our suggested proposal aims to prevent suboptimal decision making.


We used a conceptual model of demand to illustrate alternating decisions between vaccines because of time-varying levels of indirect effects. Similar to the concept of subsidies, we propose internalizing the indirect effects achievable with vaccines. In a case study over 60 years, we simulated a hypothetical 10-year reevaluation of 2 oncogenic human papillomavirus vaccines, of which only 1 protects additionally against anogenital warts.


Our case study showed that the vaccine with additional warts protection is initially valued higher than the vaccine without additional warts protection. After 10 years, this differential decreases because of declines in warts incidence, which supports switching to the nonwarts vaccine that causes a warts resurgence eventually. Instead, pricing the indirect effects separately supports continuing with the warts vaccine.


Ignoring how the observed incidences depend on the indirect effects achieved with a particular vaccine may lead to repeated changes in vaccines at successive reevaluations, with unintended resurgences, economic inefficiencies, and eroding vaccine confidence. We propose internalizing indirect effects to prevent vaccines falling victim to their own success.
HEOR Topics :
  • Epidemiology & Public Health
  • Prevalence, Incidence & Disease Risk Factors
  • Prospective Observational Studies
  • Specialized Treatment Areas
  • Study Approaches
  • Vaccines
Tags :
  • cost-effectiveness analysis
  • decision making
  • externality
  • herd immunity
  • vaccination
Regions :
  • Western Europe