Background: Published economic assessments of rotavirus vaccination typically use modelling, mainly static Markov cohort models with birth cohorts followed up to the age of 5 years. Rotavirus vaccination has now been available for several years in some countries, and data have been collected to evaluate the real-world impact of vaccination on rotavirus hospitalisations. This study compared the economic impact of vaccination between model estimates and observed data on disease-specific hospitalisation reductions in a country for which both modelled and observed datasets exist (Belgium).
Methods: A previously published Markov cohort model estimated the impact of rotavirus vaccination on the number of rotavirus hospitalisations in children aged
Results: The model predicted a smaller decrease in hospitalisations over time, mainly explained by two factors. First, the observed data indicated indirect vaccine protection in children too old or too young for vaccination. This herd effect is difficult to capture in static Markov cohort models and therefore was not included in the model. Second, the model included a 'waning' effect, i.e. reduced vaccine effectiveness over time. The observed data suggested this waning effect did not occur during that period, and so the model systematically underestimated vaccine effectiveness during the first 4 years after vaccine implementation.
Conclusions: Model predictions underestimated the direct medical economic value of rotavirus vaccination during the first 4 years of vaccination by approximately 10% when assessing hospitalisation rates as compared with observed data in Belgium.