Although multiple studies of cost-effectiveness of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines have been conducted, no such study has examined Singapore's situation nor compared the licensed conjugate vaccines in an Asian population. This paper estimates the costs and public health impacts of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine programs, varying estimates of serotype replacement and herd immunity effects as key parameters in the analysis. Based in part on a 2008 analysis also presented here, Singapore has approved the PCV-7, PHiD-10, and PCV-13 pneumococcal conjugate vaccines as part of its National Childhood Immunisation Programme.
An economic evaluation was performed using a Markov simulation model populated with Singapore-specific population parameters, vaccine costs, treatment costs, and disease incidence data. The vaccinated infant and child cohort of 226,000 was 6% of the Singapore resident population of 3.8 million. Vaccine efficacy estimates were constructed for PCV-7, PHiD-10, and PCV-13 vaccines based on their serotype coverage in Singapore and compared to 'no vaccination'. The model estimated impacts over a five-year time horizon with 3% per year discounting of costs and health effects. Costs were presented in 2010 U.S. dollars (USD) and Singapore dollars (SGD). Sensitivity analyses included varying herd immunity, serotype replacement rates, vaccine cost, and efficacy against acute otitis media.
Under base case assumptions for the revised analysis (i.e., herd effects in the unvaccinated population equivalent to 20% of direct effects) PCV-13 prevented 834 cases and 7 deaths due to pneumonia, meningitis, and bacteremia in the vaccinated population, and 952 cases and 191 deaths in the unvaccinated population over the 5-year time horizon. Including herd effects, the cost-effectiveness ratio for PCV-13 was USD $37,644 (SGD $51,854) per QALY. Without herd effects, however, the ratio was USD $204,535 (SGD $281,743) per QALY. The PCV-7 cost per QALY including herd effects was USD $43,275 (SGD $59,610) and for PHiD-10 the ratios were USD $45,100 (SGD $62,125). The original 2008 analysis, which had higher estimates of pneumonia prevention due to herd immunity and lower estimates of cost per dose, had found a cost-effectiveness ratio of USD $5562 (SGD $7661) per QALY for PCV-7.
When compared to cost-effectiveness thresholds recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), our 2008 analysis found that vaccination of infants in Singapore with PCV-7 was very cost-effective if herd immunity effects were present. However, knowledge on herd immunity and serotype replacement that emerged subsequent to this analysis changed our expectations about indirect effects. Given these changed inputs, our current estimates of infant vaccination against pneumococcal disease in Singapore find such programs to be moderately cost-effective compared to WHO thresholds. The different findings from the 2008 and 2011 analyses suggest that the dynamic issue of serotype replacement should be monitored post-licensure and, as changes occur, vaccine effectiveness and cost-effectiveness analyses should be re-evaluated.