Background: Argentina’s population was heavily affected by the 2009 influenza pandemic, particularly children, in whom incidence of seasonal influenza is consistently high. Following the pandemic, Argentinean national recommendations for pediatric vaccination against A/H1N1 influenza were defined for all children aged up to five years, in line with programs implemented by national authorities elsewhere. Economic evaluations have found that vaccination programs for this population against seasonal influenza are cost-effective, if not cost-saving in many countries. Recently, Argentina decided to routinely vaccinate against influenza children aged 6–23 mo-old. But, the economic value of such strategies for the country has never been assessed.
Methods: A model was developed to assess the value of four different vaccination strategies: (1) no pediatric vaccination; (2) vaccination of 6–23 mo-old children; (3) vaccination of 6–36 mo-old children; (4) vaccination of 6 mo−5 y-old children. We first estimated community health benefits of vaccination then we evaluated the economic and quality-of-life impact of these strategies on the population. Data used in the model come from surveillance networks, published literature, national databases and retrospective hospital-based data.
Results: Pediatric influenza vaccination benefited not only children but also the overall community, due to decreased disease transmission. Our results showed that the recent decision by Argentina to vaccinate 6–23 mo-old children is cost-effective as would be the incremental vaccination of broader age groups.
Conclusions: Results from this study are consistent with previous analyses in other countries confirming that implementing influenza pediatric vaccination programs can be highly cost-effective through individual- and community protection against the disease.Full Text Options