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Impact of five years of rotavirus vaccination in Finland – And the associated cost savings in secondary healthcare

Leino, Tuija, Baum, Ulrike, Scott, Peter, Ollgren, Jukka, Salo, Heini
Vaccine 2017 v.35 no.42 pp. 5611-5617
Rotavirus, burden of disease, children, cost effectiveness, gastroenteritis, health care costs, hospitals, vaccination, vaccines, Finland
This study aimed to estimate the impact of the national rotavirus (RV) vaccination programme, starting 2009, on the total hospital-treated acute gastroenteritis (AGE) and severe RV disease burden in Finland during the first five years of the programme. This study also evaluated the costs saved in secondary healthcare by the RV vaccination programme.The RV related outcome definitions were based on ICD10 diagnostic codes recorded in the Care Register for Health Care. Incidences of hospitalised and hospital outpatient cases of AGE (A00-A09, R11) and RVGE (A08.0) were compared prior (1999–2005) and after (2010–2014) the start of the programme among children less than five years of age.The reduction in disease burden in 2014, when all children under five years of age have been eligible for RV vaccination, was 92.9% (95%CI: 91.0%–94.5%) in hospitalised RVGE and 68.5% (66.6%–70.3%) in the total hospitalised AGE among children less than five years of age. For the corresponding hospital outpatient cases, there was a reduction of 91.4% (82.4%–96.6%) in the RVGE incidence, but an increase of 6.3% (2.7%–9.9%) in the AGE incidence. The RV vaccination programme prevented 2206 secondary healthcare AGE cases costing €4.5 million annually. As the RV immunisation costs were €2.3 million, the total net savings just in secondary healthcare costs were €2.2 million, i.e. €33 per vaccinated child.The RV vaccination programme clearly controlled the severe, hospital-treated forms of RVGE. The total disease burden is a more valuable end point than mere specifically diagnosed cases as laboratory confirmation practises usually change after vaccine introduction. The RV vaccination programme annually pays for itself at least two times over.