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This report presents findings from a new economic model on cost-benefit analyses for differing uptake and efficacy scenarios for the English flu vaccination programme.

Seasonal influenza remains a potent public health concern around the globe. Those with underlying health conditions are exposed to serious and even fatal consequences if they catch the flu. The flu continues to impose a serious burden on health services, as well as resulting in “productivity losses” due to poor health and premature mortality.

Given the rapidly ageing population of the UK and growing pressures on the National Health Service, tackling influenza is an important challenge, especially during the winter months when flu and other related health conditions are most prevalent. Vaccinations are recognised as a crucial defence against flu outbreaks, helping to protect individuals directly and by creating herd immunity.

However, all health systems face financial constraints, and understanding the costs and benefits of vaccination comes into consideration by those implementing health policy.

This report, supported by an educational grant from Seqirus presents findings from a new economic model of the costs and benefits from flu vaccination in England using recent efficacy data. More specifically, it introduces a conservative, static model which provides a partial cost-benefit analysis of vaccination under various scenarios.

The model generates a cost-benefit analysis under different plausible scenarios for vaccine efficacy, the vaccination rate and the cost of the vaccine as it applies to various risk groups. The report also produces estimates of vaccination costs per death averted to enable comparison with the wider literature.

Key findings include:

  • Vaccination averts between 180,000 and 626,000 cases of influenza per year in England
  • Flu vaccination helps avert between 5,678 and 8,800 premature deaths per year
  • The vast majority of hospital cases caused by influenza are among older adults. Over 1,800 individuals hospitalised in 2016-2017 were aged between 80 and 84 - higher than any other age group
  • The human capital costs of influenza range from £90 million to £270 million
  • The NHS flu vaccination programme costs £50,610 per death averted
     

Ben Franklin, Assistant Director of Research and Policy said:

”Seasonal influenza remains a potent public health concern around the globe and much of the burden falls on older people. The flu continues to impose a serious burden on health services, as well as resulting in “productivity losses” due to poor health and sick days. Policymakers should take into account the economic as well as the health costs of vaccine preventable diseases when assessing the value of vaccination. Industry must work to ensure that innovations in vaccination improve the efficacy of vaccination among older people.”


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