The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has recommended routine childhood hepatitis A vaccination in states and communities where the incidence of disease exceeds the national average, but most adolescents are currently unprotected from infection.
To estimate clinical and economic consequences of vaccinating adolescents against hepatitis A in the 10 states with the highest disease rates.
Decision analysis was used to assess cost-effectiveness from societal and health system perspectives. Parameter estimates were obtained from national surveillance data, a study of hepatitis A cases, and an expert panel.
Main Outcome Measures
Reduction in disease incidence; costs of vaccination, treatment, and work loss; years of life saved (YOLS); and costs per YOLS.
In states with the highest disease rates, vaccination of adolescents against hepatitis A would reduce the lifetime risk of symptomatic infection from 3.3% to 0.7% and prevent loss of 2117 years of life. Vaccination of a single birth cohort would cost $30.9 million, yet treatment and work loss costs would decline $14.2 million and $23.8 million, respectively. Hepatitis A vaccination would cost the health system $7902 per YOLS or $13,722 per discounted YOLS. Results are most sensitive to variation in the discount rate and assumptions regarding long-term vaccine protective efficacy.
Hepatitis A vaccination of adolescents in states with high disease rates would reduce costs to society. Although health system costs would increase, cost-effectiveness is comparable to other recommended vaccines and superior to many commonly used medical interventions.