The costs and benefits of a vaccination programme for Haemophilus influenzae type 8 disease
Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) infection is a major cause of severe bacterial infection in young children in South Africa and world-wide. These diseases can be prevented by immunisation with conjugate Hib vaccines. In South Africa, unlike some developed countries, Hib vaccines are not part of the routine immunisation schedule. The objective of this study was to measure the expected net benefits from a hypothetical programme of vaccination of the 1992 Cape Town birth cohort (N =46 537). Costs were calculated by summing the estimated direct medical care costs together with the indirect costs of Hib disease. The latter were calculated by valuing human life using alternative, and conservative human capital and willingness-to-pay measures. The difference between Hib disease costs (Le. the benefits which would be gained from a successful vaccination programme) and the costs of the vaccination programme itself (HibTITER, Praxis Biologicals) defined the expected net benefits. In the absence of an immunisation programme, the estimated economic costs of Hib disease in the 1992 Cape Town cohort ranged from R10,7 million to R11 ,8 million. The costs of introducing the vaccine would have amounted to R8,3 million. Had the vaccine been administered to the 1992 birth cohort, benefits would have exceeded costs by between R2,4 million and R3,5 million.