BACKGROUND: To inform national healthcare authorities whether quadrivalent influenza vaccines (QIVs) provide better value for money than trivalent influenza vaccines (TIVs), we assessed the cost-effectiveness of TIV and QIV in low-and-middle income communities based in South Africa and Vietnam and contrasted these findings with those from a high-income community in Australia.
METHODS: Individual based dynamic simulation models were interfaced with a health economic analysis model to estimate the cost-effectiveness of vaccinating 15% of the population with QIV or TIV in each community over the period 2003-2013. Vaccination was prioritized for HIV-infected individuals, before elderly aged 65+ years and young children. Country or region-specific data on influenza-strain circulation, clinical outcomes and costs were obtained from published sources. The societal perspective was used and outcomes were expressed in International$ (I$) per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gained.
RESULTS: When compared with TIV, we found that QIV would provide a greater reduction in influenza-related morbidity in communities in South Africa and Vietnam as compared with Australia. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of QIV versus TIV was estimated at I$4183/QALY in South Africa, I$1505/QALY in Vietnam and I$80,966/QALY in Australia.
CONCLUSIONS: The cost-effectiveness of QIV varied between communities due to differences in influenza epidemiology, comorbidities, and unit costs. Whether TIV or QIV is the most cost-effective alternative heavily depends on influenza B burden among subpopulations targeted forvaccination in addition to country-specific willingness-to-pay thresholds and budgetary impact.