Background: Each year rotavirus gastroenteritis results in thousands of paediatric hospitalisations and primary care visits in the Netherlands. While two vaccines against rotavirus are registered, routine immunisation of infants has not yet been implemented. Existing cost-effectiveness studies showed inconsistent results for these vaccines because of lack of consensus on the impact. We aimed to investigate which factors had a major impact on cost-effectiveness and were primarily responsible for the large differences in previously estimated cost-effectiveness ratios.
Methods: Based on updated data on health outcomes and cost estimates, we re-assessed the cost-effectiveness of routine paediatric rotavirus vaccination within the National Immunization Program for the Netherlands. Two consensus meetings were organised with national and international experts in the field to achieve consensus and resolve potential controversies.
Results: It was estimated that rotavirus vaccination in the Netherlands could avert 34,214 cases of rotavirus gastroenteritis in children aged less than 5 years. Notably, 2,779 hospitalisations were averted of which 315 were extensions of existing hospital stays due to nosocomial rotavirus infection. With a threshold varying from 20K(sic) -50K(sic) per QALY and according to the base-case scenario, the full vaccination costs per child leading to cost-effectiveness was (sic)57.76 -(sic)77.71. Results were sensitive to the inclusion of potential vaccine induced herd protection, QALY losses and number of deaths associated with rotavirus gastroenteritis.
Conclusions: Our economic analysis indicates that inclusion of rotavirus vaccination in the Dutch National Immunization Program might be cost-effective depending on the cost of the vaccine and the impact of rotavirus gastroenteritis on children's quality of life.