Prevention of Hepatitis B Virus Transmission by Immunization:  An Economic Analysis of Current Recommendations

Harold S. Margolis, MD; Patrick J. Coleman, PhD; Ruth E. Brown, MS; Eric E. Mast, MD; Steven H. Sheingold, PhD; Jose A. Arevalo, MD
JAMA. 1995;274(15):1201-1208. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530150025029.
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Objective.  —To evaluate the outcome of immunization strategies to prevent hepatitis B virus (HBV) transmission.

Design and Setting.  —A decision model was used to determine the incremental effects of the following hepatitis B immunization strategies in a birth cohort receiving immunization services in the public sector: (1) prevention of perinatal HBV infection, (2) routine infant vaccination, or (3) routine adolescent vaccination.

Main Outcome Measures.  —Over the lifetime of the cohort, the reduction in infections and medical and work-loss costs of HBV-related liver disease were determined for each strategy and compared with the outcome without immunization.

Results.  —Prevention of perinatal infection and routine infant vaccination would lower the 4.8% lifetime risk of HBV infection by at least 68%, compared with a 45% reduction for adolescent vaccination. From a societal perspective, each strategy was found to be cost saving, but was not cost saving with respect to direct medical costs. The estimated cost per year of life saved was $164 to prevent perinatal HBV infection, $1522 for infant vaccination, and $3730 for adolescent vaccination.

Conclusions.  —Routine vaccination of infants in successive birth cohorts to prevent HBV transmission is cost-effective over a wide range of assumptions. While economically less attractive than infant vaccination, adolescent vaccination could serve to protect those children who were not vaccinated as infants.(JAMA. 1995;274:1201-1208)


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